The Stooges: "The Weirdness"
Producer: Steve Albini
Virgin
Release Date March 6

The Stooges don't reinvent their particular sonic wheel on their first all-new album in 34 years -- and that's just fine. "The Weirdness" offers more of the Iggy Pop-led band's prototypical cro-magnon raw power, with Scott Asheton's muscular drum attack propelling brother Ron's arsenal of guitar riffs. It's a tightly woven scheme whose anthemic simplicity is deceptive and leaves room for sophisticated (but still fierce) arrangements such as the doo-wop style swing of the title track, the Bo Diddley groove'n'roll of "Mexican Guy" and the jazzy dynamics of "Passing Cloud." Pop lets loose with plenty of sociopolitical beat poet commentary on tracks like "Free and Freaky," "Greedy Awful People" and "The End of Christianity," but that will register mostly after you stop stomping and pumping your fists to the likes of "Trollin'," "She Took My Money" and "I'm Fried." --Gary Graff