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Old Time Relijun - 2012

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Artist: Old Time Relijun

Album: 2012

Label: K

Review date: Sep. 8, 2005

Old Time Relijun makes dance music. It loves the blues. It assimilates the blues with loving care. But it plays dumb about anything that resulted from the assimilationist ’60s. This is blues-based dance music that owes not a goddamn thing to the Stones. Singer Arrington de Dionyso would definitely take on the sexual frankness of the blues, were sexual repression still the order of the day. But Old Time Relijun exists in a time of more confusing confusion, of conspiracies upon conspiracies and impending ecological apocalypse and mythological clusterfuckery. So de Dionyso takes that on, and does so with rare, evangelical fervor.

Old Time Relijun, at first, sounds like the wackiest of fliers come to life. "I’d like to start a band. I’d like a thunk-thunk-thunkin’ upright bass, a squealing sax, an ever-so-slightly off-beat rhythm guitar, and a dude who teaches throat singing classes wailing away on top of it all. I play pretty tight drums. Who’s interested?" What’s thrilling about these cats is that, when they cook, they sound like they’re making the sort of music most anyone with passion could make. They sound like they’re having obscene amounts of fun making it. But deeper listening reveals the twisted talent beneath the cleansing racket. And, good times aside (but well within reach), they know that messy, obnoxious dance music is too powerful to play strictly for chuckles. Having fun + taking one’s art seriously (enough) = talent (at least, of one sort… and Old Time Relijun, they’re multi-talented).

Prior to the 2005 release 2012, Old Time Relijun’s song structures were often swallowed up in gales of voodoo noise. Tracks like the rambling rumble "Cold Water" (with its eight-minute duration) were served by this, and served well, but lesser album cuts were often left to orbit around such protracted stompers. Not this time. 2012 keeps the tunes brief, and there’s not a clunker in the bunch. Even the minimal instrumental droner "Magnetic Electric" does its job as a much-needed buffer before the primal pound of the obvious hit "Your Mama Used to Dance."

AdD’s pipes have never been stronger, nor have they ever emitted such gleefully ambiguous chants. The only thing that isn’t up for debate: He ain’t kidding. Unlike previous records, 2012 tells no stories. It herds reptiles. Or humans, maybe, if that’s a metaphor, which it probably is (the catchy-as-disco "Reptilians").

Old Time Relijun is back and ready to conquer. Someone puhl-eeze TEST-uh-fy.

By Emerson Dameron

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