[CD Review] Street Sweeper Social Club (Warner Music/Independent Label)

Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and the Coup’s Boots Riley clearly lay out their revolutionary game plan on the self-titled debut from their new side project, Street Sweeper Social Club (Galactic drummer Stanton Moore is also involved): 1) Educate yourselves, by learning what corporate America and the government are doing to squeeze the little man; 2) gather up a bunch of guns and knives; 3) turn on your iPods; and 4) fuck shit up!

Huh? Exactly. This antisocial, garbled mess of a message album contains songs with titles such as “Fight! Smash! Win” and lyrics such as “You know they vote with their guns!” and “Clap for them killers/Give it up for them gangsters.” It does not get any more nuanced than that and, needless to say, will not make sense to anyone not currently on their sixth can of Red Bull. On paper, the idea of Riley spitting invectively over Morello’s oversize electric-guitar hooks makes sense. Unfortunately, the former seems to have lost his sense of humor, while the latter’s melodies are about as subtle as a UPS truck. This album is less likely to make you take to the streets than to make you want to pop some Advil and take a nap.

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