Russell Baillie writes about movies for the Herald

Album review: Iggy Pop back with a bang

Now there's this, an Iggy Pop album that sounds like Iggy at his best. Photo / AP
Now there's this, an Iggy Pop album that sounds like Iggy at his best. Photo / AP

IT POSSIBLY strikes even James Osterberg as curious that at the age of 68 he is the last man standing of that great 70s rock triumvirate that also included David Bowie and Lou Reed. After all, he seemed to be the one who took the most risks with his personal safety.

But then again, he probably got the most exercise doing it. And as any photo of him on stage in recent years will attest, Iggy Pop has one tough hide.

Recent years have not been quite as kind to his recording career.

Those Stooges reunion albums didn't add much to his original band's noisy legacy. and Pop's previous two albums were soft Francophile records that suggested the L'Iggy was trying to prove the man who released a Bowie-produced solo album entitled The Idiot in 1977 had become a man of culture in his dotage.

But now there's this, an Iggy Pop album that sounds like Iggy at his best - which is that late-70s Idiot/Lust for Life period of Bowie patronage.

Helping him recapture that Iggy-ness is Queen of the Stone Age frontman-guitarist Josh Homme, accompanied by QOTSA bassist and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders (whose band Homme has produced). You might think they would turn this into yet another hard rock record like Pop delivered through the 80s and 90s.

But just as Bowie's 2013 The Next Day took a wander back to Berlin where he and Pop recorded their pivotal albums, Post Pop Depression is thoughtful, intimate, surprising, strange and swaggering.

It's a taut nine tracks long and, between the opener Break Into Your Heart (which comes with a sort of snakecharming sway that recalls Pop's Sister Midnight) and the epic finale Paraguay, PPD is a riveting reminder of how Pop's persona and makes for brilliant, terrifically weird rock 'n' roll.

Yes, though recorded before Bowie's passing, it comes with echoes of the late great Thin White Duke. It's hard to hear the plinky Asian opening motif of American Valhalla and not think of China Girl, which Pop recorded first. Gardenia is all shimmering Bowiefunk and croon while the lurching spiky jazzy German Days could be an out-take from Bowie's valedictory Black Star.

Maybe like Bowie, Pop had "just one more great album" on his bucket list. He's certainly done that here.

CD: Post Pop Depression (Carlone)
Verdict: Iggy's lust for life renewed

- TimeOut

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