The ear-melting riff that opens 'Burn' -- Iggy Pop and the Stooges' new single -- makes it clear that this is no nostalgia act. Not only do these guys still have their edge, four decades after their crunchy punk rock classic of a debut, you could argue that 'Burn' is all edge.

Returning Stooges guitarist James Williamson's buzz-saw assault on his poor instrument continues unabated, as drummer Scott Asheton lays down a cadence that could bring down buildings. Then there's Pop, employing a prototypically menacing, endlessly craggly growl as he speaks to a woman's ineffable beauty. Or something like that. Really, it's hard to tell with all of the glorious noise being made by his band mates, who eventually all but set 'Burn' aflame within this monstrous torrent of feedback.

That, too, is just like the old days.

Credit a reunion with Williamson, who left the band in the wake of 1973's 'Raw Power.' Pop, Asheton and his late sibling, bassist/guitarist Ron Asheton, attempted to jump start the Stooges in the last decade without Williamson, but the resulting 2007 album effort 'The Weirdness' fell flat.

'Burn' makes clear just what Williamson's barbed contributions always meant, and what they still mean today. This is one of those rare comebacks that sounds like the group picked up right where it left off.

Ron Asheton has been replaced by Mike Watt. Williamson also produced the forthcoming 'Ready to Die' album, which is due on April 30, 2013 via Fat Possum.

8 out of 10

Listen to 'Burn' by Iggy and the Stooges

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