The Urban Voodoo Machine - 'In Black 'N' Red' (Gypsy Hotel Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Thursday, 19 May 2011 06:00

urbanvoodooEvery once in a while a band comes along that really gets me excited, a band that are unusual, different and one of a kind. The Urban Voodoo Machine are definitely one of those bands, so when the opportunity came to review their new album I was on it faster than you can say "Mine's a JD & Coke!"


'In Black 'N' Red' is the follow up to 2009's 'Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop 'n' Stroll', an album title that describes their music perfectly.This East London based collective feature between 7 to 12 musicians led by ringmaster Paul-Ronney Angel, and with Uber Rock approved guests including Sam Yaffa and Jim Jones you can bet your bottom dollar these guys will not fail to impress.


'Go East' gets things off to a roaring start, led by Ronney Angel and his trusty banjo it's a rowdy sing-a-long like The Pogues used to do, it just makes you feel like you should be swinging a big jar of ale back 'n' forth in a crowded bar. Whether it be frantic Gogol Bordello style gypsy sing-a-longs like 'SOS' or the John Lee Hooker style swampy blues of 'Cheers For The Tears' and 'Good For You?', UVM do it with style and charm.


It's confession time on 'Off To Rehab' as Ronney Angel sings "Too much cocaine, too much speed, I'm feeling shaky and I just can't sleep, I guess I should slow down for a while" over some good old tinkling on the ivories, another great catchy sing-a-long. 'Heroin (Put my Brothers In The Ground)' is a dark gospel style sermon to the pitfalls of drug abuse and misery, showing a darker side to the band.


They mix up sweet gypsy rock 'n' roll, blues and cabaret to good effect, it's like a drunken mash up of The Pogues and Johnny Thunders jamming show songs. Like the soundtrack to an unmade Tarantino movie waiting to happen, maybe a spaghetti western or a 50s rock n roll movie. Angel's vocal delivery sits somewhere nicely between Zodiac Mindwarp and the drunken drawl of Tyla, and fits the style perfectly.


'In Black 'N' Red' is more complete sounding than the debut, well produced. There is an overall live feel to this album, it sounds like they had a blast making it, and this is pretty much how they sound live too. It ends as well as it began with last year's single 'Goodbye To Another Year', a song destined to be on the playlist for future New Year's Eve parties; as the last notes fade I just want to hit play and do it all again.


If songs about wheelers and dealers, drunks and bums and, oh yeah, drugs and alcohol in no particular order then whet your appetite and delve into the wild and wonderful world of The Urban Voodoo Machine, but remember to dress to Black 'N' Red.