1. Tony Adams
2. Sandpaper Blues
3. X-Ray Style
4. Techno D-Day
5. The Road To Rock 'n' Roll
7. Diggin' The New
8. Forbidden City
9. Yalla Yalla
10. Willesden To Cricklewood
- In the decade following the release of Joe Strummer's 1989 debut, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER, the Sex Pistols reformed and Orange County became the '90s equivalent to Brixton. Rather than hopping onto any bandwagons, Strummer spent this time dabbling in different projects and sampling different genres. All this musical exploration resulted in ROCK ART AND THE X-RAY STYLE, a musical gumbo that finds punk as its least significant ingredient.
- The one constant from Strummer's days with the Clash is socially conscious lyrics that not only tap into the global injustice of what happened at Tianamen Square ("Forbidden City"), but in a more personal confrontation with police at 1998's Megadog Festival ("Techno D-Day"). Elsewhere, Strummer explores new ground with such unpunk flourishes as merging Moorish percussion with Spanish guitar ("X-Ray Style") and grafting Orb-like ambiance onto tribal rhythms ("Yalla Yalla"). Like former bandmate Mick Jones's Big Audio Dynamite, the Muscaleros utilize interesting dance beats particularly on the gently grooving CHEF AID cut "The Road to Rock N' Roll" (where steel guitar meets wheels of steel) and a striking combination of African chanting with bubbling electronica ("Sandpaper Blues").
Rolling Stone (1/20/00, p.57) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Strummer dodges punk nostalgia for something both more elusive and more resonant....[his] old fury has aged gracefully into impressionistic indignation and Dylan-esque significance..."
Entertainment Weekly (11/26/99, p.98) - "...there are some catchy tunes....And just hearing Strummer's distinctive rasp - which sounds exactly the same all these years later - is oddly heartening." - Rating: B-
Q (11/99, p.135) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Strummer delivers...that bizarre mix of British rock and ethnic rhythms for which everyone knows him....'not' the sound of an old man trying to re-create his glory days. Worth spending both time and money on."
Alternative Press (1/00, p.101) - 3 out of 5 - "...an eclectic mix of world beats and textures that yeild mixed results....an exceedingly mellow affair...the songs are pleasant..."
CMJ (11/8/99, p.27) - "...interested [more] in pointed protest rather than aimless nihilism. The protests continue here....[while] his lower-key approach allows ska and worldbeat grooves to help carry the message."
CMJ (11/29/99, p.3) - "...Strummer has matured, no longer forcing his idealism upon you, rather, presenting it to you with a self-assured verve that exhibits a new kind of passion."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/00, p.30) - Ranked #37 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999"
Mojo (Publisher) (11/99, p.96) - "...[weaves] together reggae and world, beats and bongos, Spanish picking and plain ol' rock and roll....Strummer's lyrical form is a delight throughout, shofting mood between resignation and defiance, testing old conceits of the Last Gang In Town against '90s reality..."