Kicking off in a rush of rudimentary riffs and cracked vocals, The Weirdness suggests all of your fears have come true: rock’s angriest mob have turned into toothless old sleazes, and it seems they’re the only ones not to realise it.
Setting the standard for debauched nihilism, The Stooges cut a ragged dash through the proto-punk landscape of the early ‘70s. More than 30 years on, there’s something vaguely farcical and perhaps even tragic about the return of Iggy and the Asheton brothers. Kicking off in a rush of rudimentary riffs and cracked vocals, The Weirdness suggests all of your fears have come true: rock’s angriest mob have turned into toothless old sleazes, and it seems they’re the only ones not to realise it.
Not that The Weirdness is entirely a train wreck. Forget that this is The Stooges and the record yields its share of comedy punk kicks. Coasting on Iggy’s faux-Doors yelp and producer Steve Albini’s patented grindhouse din, opener ‘Trollin’’ , for instance, is a sloppily efficient bar blues workout. Elsewhere, ‘You Can’t Have Friends’ lumbers and twitches, as if the song had been buried in unhallowed ground for three decades and brought back to life through unholy means.
On the title-track, meanwhile, Iggy channels his inner Nick Cave, moaning and gibbering his way through a slow-burn dirge. For the first, and only, time on the record, the singer (now nudging 60) seems to be acting his age; the song hints at the fantastic gothic blues LP The Stooges could have crafted had they surrendered their leather trousers and Viagra at the studio door.
Though hardly the disaster it could have been, then, The Stooges’ return feels unnecessary and, more importantly, undignified. What ever happened to living off past glories?