"Street Sweeper Social Club" by Street Sweeper Social Club

Street Sweeper Social Club
Street Sweeper Social Club

Street Sweeper Social Club
2009

Review

Comparisons to Rage Against The Machine are inevitable and not unfounded. But this album shows that - while perhaps not exactly novel - the formula of loud guitars, hard drums, and rumbling bass as the background to revolutionary lyrics is not broken.

Boots Riley of The Coup fame is the perfect choice for Tom Morello to partner with to revive the Rage against the machine mythos. Tom Morello has been revitalized on this album. I think his guitar works needs to be the springboard for social commentary. I remember reading that Chris Cornell had very little desire to be political in the Audioslave music. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with their eventual breakup, but I will say that Tom's guitar work on this album is more in line with that bold funk-driven sound from back in the Rage days.

Lyrically, Boots is pissed the hell off! I think that Boots works better from a lyrical perspective but Zach worked better from a Rock perspective. I had to turn the treble up in my car stereo to be able to hear Boots clearly but at home with headphones on it was fine. Compare that to Zach where he's essentially screaming his lyrics (no treble adjustments necessary). But if Zach's rage was felt more in the delivery than in lyrics, Boots is raining fire and brimstone down on the man, the inequities that keep the poor poor, and the hypocrisy of the common criminal versus those of people with financial or political power. Check these lyrics from the standout "Clap For The Killers"

Ay playboy, pop 'em with a pistol and get executed
Ay mama, murder 'em with missiles and you get saluted
Go 'head and gank em for a grand, it's DNA computed
But bankers bathe in the Bahamas off of billions looted

This record may be a retread of a previously established style, but it couldn't possibly be more timely. There are a few songs where it sounds a little too similar to what was done on the Rage albums. But man! There's some ridiculous guitar work here. Tom Morello continues in his quest to be the man that makes a guitar sound like anything but a guitar. The drumming is crisp and though the bass work is sometimes overshadowed by the guitar work (except for the closing track, "Nobody Moves (Til We Say So)") it still comes together quite well. Almost every track got me riled up to the point of feeling like I needed to find a brick to throw through a window.

The only track that didn't work for me was "Shock You Again" and only because it seemed to be the least focused track on the album both lyrically and musically and was by far the weakest track on an album of otherwise good to fantastic songs.

It's been done before, yes. But not exactly like this. Boots Riley is full of fire and although it takes a second or two to adjust your expectations (you hear Rage-ish music, and you expect Zach) it's still Tom effing Morello at his funkiest best with an MC who really wants to...well, maybe I'd better let him tell you himself. From the track "Somewhere Around The World It's Midnight"

I came to spit flames
Until this shit change
Until we switch games
The streets drown in pain, now
Y'all might just drink and fuck to this
Let's knuckle up and deconstruct the shit
Im'ma show you what they dysfunction is
They need some nickel-plated acupuncturists

...play this as your soundtrack to your revolution.

4.455 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. Fight! Smash! Win! (03:35) 4
2. 100 Little Curses (04:03) 5
3. The Oath (04:25) 5
4. The Squeeze (03:13) 4
5. Clap for the Killers (03:57) 5
6. Somewhere in the World It's Midnight (03:20) 5
7. Shock You Again (03:41) 3
8. Good Morning Mrs. Smith (03:20) 4
9. Megablast (03:47) 4
10. Promenade (03:11) 5
11. Nobody Moves (Til We Say Go) (02:31) 5