The Urban Voodoo Machine

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Review: Love, Drink & Death
in Über Rock

Hooray I hear you say, another record from London’s dark and mysterious underbelly courtesy of the lovable Gypsy blues bop ‘n’ stroll beat combo otherwise known as The Urban Voodoo Machine.

Led by songwriter and frontman Paul-Ronney Angel, 2014 is now ready to take birth of this most wonderful collection of songsmithery as we brace ourselves for special guests aplenty on some twisted tunes about Love, Drink and Death.

‘Your Hour Of Darkness’ is a wonderful opener and shows off the majestic best bits of the band’s eleven piece set up (yup, I did say eleven piece) with some mighty fine guitar picking as the song swings and swaggers its way into your noggin and takes root. Uplifting and exhilarating all in the opening track, fantastic!

The lead track from the album is the honky tonk of ‘Pipe And Slippers Man’ (where you can see the one and only Mr. Rat Scabies play the lead role of the pipe and slippers man in the video). But it’s the banjo picking and horns that lift this song that has just about everything except the kitchen sink thrown in to the mix, but on close inspection I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear someone in the ensemble playing the damn thing.

Is Maria crazy? You bet your bottom dollar she is. ‘Crazy Maria’ is a veritable festive explosion and the guitar picking with the horn blowing is exceptional and works perfectly. The Urban Voodoo Machine are really beginning to find their place and know how to write some great songs.

How about some stomping Rock And Roll? Well of course this band of reprobates can do that for you and duly oblige with the bass drum thumping of ‘Captain Of A Sinking Ship’ – as it builds to its conclusion this is one ship you’d be happy to go down with especially if this was the band on the deck hammering away as you enter the deep blue sea.

‘Not With You’ takes you on a slow waltz to the chorus when the pace is quickened before laying right back down again as Paul-Ronney Angel croons his tale as you, the listener, hangs off his every word.

‘Train Wreck Blues’ sees former New York Doll and current Michael Monroe guitar slinger Steve Conte pick his way through this tale of lost love and suicide that’s complete with fiddle and horns, but is the subject matter meant to make you smile quite so broadly? Anyway, whoever it was who asked Conte to hop on board played a blinder as the lad certainly feels the music and picks out a majestic solo.

After not messing with the hat the mood takes a dark turn as ‘Lorettas Revenge’ plucks some nylon strings and Paul-Ronney Angel whispers the lament. I had to double check because six minutes and forty one seconds had just flown by.

‘Drinking My Life Away’ has some typically great Urban Voodoo Machine percussion and gob iron honkin’ as this barroom brawler goes down a treat, cheers!

With sixteen songs on offer there is a lot of material to get through and the various directions this record takes it still flows and takes you up and puts you down in a superbly cohesive piece of work but dipping in and out is equally rewarding. Jim Jones rejoins the fold on ‘Sharkwaters’, a chain gang acapella with only the briefest piano stabs to help this bad boy along.

The guest appearances don’t end there as Wilko Johnson features on ‘Help Me Jesus’ with his trademark guitar playing on this album version that plays longer than the recently released single version of this gospel number.

‘Goodnight My Dear’ is the sombre penultimate song on offer on this third record by this unique and exceptional band as it builds and builds to its climax. Had this been written by a prime peak Rolling Stones it would be raved about for years and years to come – simply stunning. As its dying note fades away ‘The Urban Voodoo Machine Second Line’ closes this humongous sprawling piece of genius.

Long live the Urban Voodoo Machine and all who sail in it for there is no other band quite like it currently kicking up a storm anywhere in the world and ‘Love, approved image lrg 2013Drink & Death’ is one hell of an album so I raise a glass in celebration for its uniqueness and brilliance. Cheers!

by Dom Daley

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