Iggy & The Stooges – Ready to Die
With the passing of Ron Asheton in 2009 and James Williamson’s subsequent return, it seems like The Stooges are being frog-marched by fate into repeating their own history. Undaunted by age, Ready to Die comes six years after The Weirdness reunited three quarters of the legendary original line-up for a haphazard affair that divided listeners. Unable to follow up their return with Fun House, Williamson’s reappearance has injected Iggy & the Stooges with the undisputable energy of Raw Power.
Ready to Die may lack much of the dark menace that permeated Raw Power, but it’s all just part of the aging process. While Search & Destroy’s youthful conceit underpinned a deep desperation, Ready to Die’s opening gambit, Burn, feels less like a band facing down the forces of darkness, and more like a band reveling in their own immortality, happy to watch the world burn while they make their ecstatic noise. And that’s what Iggy & The Stooges are clearly in high spirits over: after all, this time they can deliver the wall of proto-punk noise that inspired legions of punks to pick up an axe.
Williamson’s contributions are plentiful to say the least, with his powerful licks and constant dynamism keeping a surprise round every corner. The title track houses some of the man’s signature fuzzy punk noodling, whereas wild card tracks like the playfully childish DD’s contains the finest surf guitar since Dick Dale. Meanwhile, gentle acoustic number Unfriendly World sees uncharacteristically unhurried slide work. Williamson’s greatest input, however, is in his production. Steve Albini’s recording of The Weirdness (much to the behest of fans) clashed with the ageing Iggy and Asheton Brothers, failing to capture the rawness that works for Albini, and instead sounding more like a poorly conceived demo. Ready to Die does quite the opposite, with its dense production mashing the band into a powerful singularity.
By balancing the bacchanal tendencies and attitude of Iggy Pop with James Williamson’s learned musicianship and powerful production, Ready to Die hits all the right notes and delivers the year’s best new trick from an old dog (and that includes The Next Day).
Ready to Die was released on 30st April 2013.
Watch the trailer for Ready to Die here: