by / May 28th, 2012 /

JD McPherson – Signs Signifiers

 3/5 Rating

(Rounder Records)

While the music industry constantly strives to look for the next act to get overexcited about, the truth is that there really is nothing new under the sun. Genres, looks and eras are constantly being raided, with ideas and sounds pilfered and adapted to create something new. The need to at least pretend to provide a modern twist on the source material goes out of the window though when it’s the early days of rock ‘n’ roll that forms the inspiration. As long as you have the quiff, the authentic sound and a dash of attitude you can get away with a straightforward retread, despite inviting comparison with some of the most thrilling, important records ever made. Perhaps it’s just that this music is in our DNA, but throw us a backbeat and we’re sold.

Step up JD McPherson, ex-punk rocker from Oklahoma – now the latest revivalist on the block. He has the look, he has the band and he has the major label deal. Signs Signifiers sounds exactly as you might expect, tight as they come and completely devoid of any surprises. It is a record made by a man in thrall of Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Clash and The Smiths (although this only manifests itself on the title track’s ‘How Soon Is Now’ homage) and for the most part that’s just fine. As soon as the snare starts snapping, the double bass starts slapping and those historic guitar riffs come into play you can’t help but pump that right leg. He has some neat songs too, especially single ‘North Side Girl’, and while this will never replace the originals, McPherson is another name to put next to Devin and Kitty, Daisy & Lewis in the new rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame.

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