Album Review: The Urban Voodoo Machine – “Rare Gumbo”
Gumbo, for those unaware, is a brand of stew from the deep south of America which is made by essentially throwing everything and anything into the pot and creating a surprisingly tasty and intoxicating dish. So it’s safe to say that this rarities compilation from the Urban Voodoo Machine is aptly named. After all, the Voodoos have built a reputation for being the sort of band that can throw multiple styles of music into their own musical broth and always end up with something rather fantastic.
This compilation is a case in point. As well as containing early EP versions of songs that would later be re-recorded on their superb debut album “Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop ‘n’ Stroll” such as “Orphan’s Lament”, “The Real Criminals” and the rather fantastic expletive-laden polka that is “Love Song #666”, it also swings like an orang-utan tanked up on moonshine from Jerry Lee Lewis style fired up rockabilly (“You Got Me By The Balls”) through full on Stonesy rock ‘n’ roll raunch (“Six Weeks On The Road”) to out and out frazzled Tom Waits style weirdness (“Corpse In My Trunk”, “Devil On A String”). But the crucial thing is that every one of the 22 tracks on here is eminently listenable and will have you coming back for repeat listens, guaranteed.
So if you’re new to the Urban Voodoo Machine, this is as good a place as any to be introduced to their heady rock ‘n’ roll/folk/hellbilly/East European brew. And if you’re a Voodoo veteran, it’s safe to say that there’s still plenty here that’ll interest you in the form of B-sides, rarities and even a Radio 4 live session (which is worth hearing just for the chat between singer Paul-Ronney Angel and the slightly startled DJ before they kick into “Go East”).
More than anything, it’s a good reminder of what a great, and unique, band the Urban Voodoo Machine are. Roll on album number three this autumn…