Album Review: Voodoo Vegas – “The Rise Of Jimmy Silver”
I’ll be honest, it’s got to the point these days where when I get a CD from a band who look as though they firmly belong in the “Brit-sleaze” bracket, I feel a shiver of dread going through me. Personally, I blame Motley Crue. Ever since their biography hit the bookshelves a decade or so ago, the streets and venues of Camden and Holloway have been clogged up with hairsprayed groups of clods desperately keen to try and imitate either Nikki Sixx or Axl Rose and who are merely in it for the excuse to behave badly rather than for any kind of love of the music they peddle. And, as I’ve discovered from some of my more scathing reviews in the past, a lot of these bandwagon jumpers tend to be just a little bit sensitive about their “craft”, bless ’em.
However, there have been a few diamonds in the very large expanses of rough that this genre encompasses and Bournemouth’s Voodoo Vegas, fair play to ’em, definitely stand out from the two-bit merchants serving up endless rehashes of “Girls Girls Girls” or “Appetite For Destruction” without any of the tunes that the originals had. It helps that they actually do appear to be in for it because it’s something they enjoy doing rather than trying to use it as an excuse to score cheap booze, cheaper drugs and even cheaper groupies. You can tell because this is a surprisingly well crafted album – they’ve clearly actually thought about stuff like getting the production right, getting some suitably meaty riffs to underpin the songs and making the whole shebang sound fairly professional. Small touches yes, but they do make all the difference and they elevate songs like “Mary Jane” and “Bullet” from sounding like a Vauxhall Conference version of Tigertailz, as they undoubtedly would in the hands of less capable outfits (oh c’mon, do I even need to name names here?) into the point where you think “actually, this ain’t too bad”. Likewise, while their singer can definitely affect a decent Sebastian Bach style shriek, he’s good enough to avoid being a mere copyist and actually manages to stamp his own mark on the songs quite well. Not a lot of other Brit-sleaze bands you can really say that about, huh?
They’re even capable of bringing (shock horror!) a bit of variety to their music – the menacing break-up song “No More” is a competent rock ballad (the same can’t be said of the limp piano-led “Lost In Confusion”, easily the weakest song on here but we’ll let that one slide) while “Ferry Song” is a piano and harmonica led blues-rock bar-room stomp which, while it ain’t exactly the Quireboys, definitely deserves Voodoo Vegas some credit for trying something different.
Overall diagnosis then? Well, don’t expect to find the answers to life’s questions in here obviously. But, for what it is, this is a strong effort and suggests that these guys are very well placed to get a decent foothold in the Brit-sleaze scene and hopefully force a few of their less-talented brethren to buck their ideas up by raising the bar. Those of you who like your rock nice ‘n’ sleazy would do well to check this out – these guys might just be your new favourite band waiting to happen.