When was the last time that you have listened to an album that its anger was so sheer, expressed in explosive intensity of balls-to-the-wall abandon, but an anger that still makes you dance (and, apparently, promised to be good for houseplants). Well, American guitarist-vocalist-artist rights activist Marc Ribot reminds us about the immortal words of anarchist activist Emma Goldman: «if I can’t keep dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution». Ribot and his comrades in the Ceramic Dog trio – bass player Shahzad Ismaily, known from Secret Chiefs 3, and drummer Chess Smith, known from Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, deliver a wild, revolutionary party.
«YRU Still Here?» begins with Ribot chanting the mantra: «I got a right to say FUCK YOU!!!». Don’t expect subtle lyrics or a comforting, lyrical melodies from Ribot’s Ceramic Dog. It is not their forte. Ribot is full of anger and rage, about tyranny, fascism, corruption, greed, racism, orthodoxy, you name it, and not only in the United States but everywhere else. Ribot and Ceramic Dog won’t let you suppress that anger. You’d better stand up, not only for your rights or the others right. Rise up, shout but don’t forget to dance.
But «YRU Still Here?» is much more than an explosive cocktail of anger and political commentary. It is most of all a joyful and smart celebration of absurdist humor, smoky guitar solos, addictive, driving rhythms and irresistible, eclectic mix of funk, flamenco, Latin, punk, surf and rock n’ roll. All is wrapped in a fiery, free jazz energy of a group that have perfected its tight interplay over the last ten years and sounds much larger than three musicians.
Take, for example, «Pennsylvania 6 6666», a song that correspond with Glenn Miller’s jazz standard from the fourites «Pennsylvania 6 5000» and, obviously, Satanists. This cool Latinoid song laments Shahzad’s experiences growing up Muslim in Danville, Pennsylvania, where «all the children are insane» and mocks white supremacists, hypocrite Christian beliefs. The politically-charged «Muslim Jewish Resistance (Never Again)» possess you immediately with the brutal drumming of Smith, a searing guitar solo of Ribot and the screaming saxes of Briggan Krauss and Doug Wieselman. Ribot, Ismaily, Smith keep naming throughout this song all the politicians and thel groups that no decent human being would have any contact with, never, never again. Or the punk anthem «Fuck La Migra» that reminds us all (and the border police) who is the real criminal and what (oval) office he occupies. And you can still dance as Ceramic Dog updates Chic’s funky-discoid rhythm on»Freak Freak Freak On The Peripherique».
Marc Ribot (g, org, b, v, vocoder), Shahzad Ismaily (b, perc, MOOG, v), Ches Smith (dr, perc, elec, v), Lukas Rutzen (back v), Rea Dubach (back v), Mauricio Herrera (congas), Doug Wieselman (fl, s), Briggan Krauss (s), Chris Fowlkes (tb), Neel Murgai (sitar)