The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's funky wild blues on critical albums like Orange and Now I Got Worry defined the band as being in a league of its own. With an intoxicating and sexy vocal growl, Spencer united with bassist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins to define raw rock & roll outside of grunge, post-grunge, and modern rock throughout the 1990s. The bamboozled electronica mold of 1998's Acme album was sophisticatedly different, but the grit found in the band's previous work was a bit lax. The band might have known it as well; however, a change in direction was happening. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's eighth record, Plastic Fang, doesn't overlook anything this time, for the album exudes a new power. Spencer and his mates sought the expertise and slick work of musician/producer Steve Jordan, who brought brashness back to the front on Plastic Fang. "Sweet n Sour" flourishes with a huge guitar blast, and Spencer's tangy cool vocal howl has never sounded better. "She Said" is comprised of typical swagger, but it's the Rolling Stones-like romp of "Mean Heart" that's truly killer. It's Spencer's best take on a ballad, too, and it's bittersweet, but he's not totally hung up on love. The explosive wail of "Down in the Beast" definitely says so and the chug-chug-chugga rawk of "Money Rock 'n' Roll" rollicks even harder. As a songwriter, Spencer is impressive, and the Blues Explosion's collaboration with Dr. John and Bernie Worrell on the seductive, bluesy, and brooding "Hold On" suggests that Plastic Fang isn't exactly focused on one particular sound. It's simple, and the depth behind the band's musicianship has expanded into something fiery once more. With Jordan's assistance, Plastic Fang sounds live and abrasive, and it's infectiously undeniable.