LIVE: The Urban Voodoo Machine (Camden Dingwalls, 17/5/11)

It’s getting a bit worrying in a way this. Every few weeks on here I seem to be mentioning someone new as a “potential album of the year contender”. I realise that those who expect me to be Pure Rawk’s resident grumpy git probably think I’m going soft and to them I apologise – I can only say that we’re evidently having a pretty damn fruitful year in terms of good el-pee’s coming out.

And to this list you can add the new Urban Voodoo Machine effort “In Black ‘n’ Red” on the evidence of tonight’s show. To those of us used to seeing them at their Gypsy Hotel stamping ground it feels a bit weird watching Paul-Ronney Angel lead his suited and booted troops into battle on a weeknight but any feelings of oddness are quickly blown away into the warm Camden night as the group kicks in with “No Bail Blues”. It’s always interesting when a band comes up with such a unique album as the Voodoos’ debut “Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop ‘n’ Stroll” as to how they’re going to follow it up but if it sounds anything like their live show tonight, the evidence would suggest the UVM have done it with ease. Rather like the Eureka Machines’ fine sophomore effort from last month, they’ve kept what made them special and built on it. Hence we get a set which veers from full-on East European gypsy rave-ups like “Go East Young Man” and “Off To Rehab” to the punky “Cheers For The Tears” (written, according to Angel, about erroneous rumours that he’d fallen in the very canal that flows outside Dingwalls and drowned a year ago) and the ultra-dark “Heroin (Put My Brothers In The Ground)”. The highlight though is the desolate spaghetti western lament “I’d Rather You Shot Me Down” which sounds like the ode to some cowboy film set in a haunted ghost town and is, quite simply, bloody fantastic. Add to this renditions of old favourites such as “Love Song #666” and “Orphan’s Lament” and it’s a surefire cure to whatever midweek blues may be ailing ya.

Yup, rest assured we’ll give you the final verdict when we get round to reviewing this one in the near future but on the evidence of tonight’s show I’d say it’s a safe bet that the Voodoos will be up there in the Album of the Year stakes along with the Eureka Machines. And the Bermondsey Joyriders. And … well, whoever else may come along in the next six months …