Most reviewers will give the majority of CDs between four and seven out of ten. There are few CDs that are so bad that they merit a zero or one star rating. Even rarer than rocking horse shit is the album that scores a perfect ten, the sort of timeless classic that is up there with the likes of “Sticky Fingers”, “Ziggy Stardust” and “The Velvet Underground & Nico”.
Storming straight into this category is “Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop ‘n’ Stroll”, the debut from Dalston’s finest. The Urban Voodoo Machine formed in 2003 and this, their first long player has been six years in the making. However, the time spent on this has been very productive, as, not only are there no duff tracks on the album, neither is there anything that could remotely be described as “filler material”. All fifteen tracks here are stand alone classics, from the opening clicketty click of the drumsticks on ‘Down in a Hole’ to the closing gong on ‘Theme From The Urban Voodoo Machine’, this album is fifty minutes and twenty three seconds of pure listening pleasure.
The opener ‘Down in a Hole’ is a classic blues track that chugs along like a freight train. When he sings “Anti-depressants or alcohol, ain’t gonna help me cos’ I’m down in a hole. Yeah the good times the hard times have taken their toll, and I’m down in a hole” you know that Paul-Ronney Angel means it. Hot on its heels follows the rockabilly-ish ‘Always Out’ now available as a download only single and if there were any justice in this world it would be straight in at the top of the charts!
‘Down by the River’ is a top class bluesy love song “So here we are collecting driftwood, can’t start a fire but we still got the spark”.
‘Stole my Dog’ is a hilarious tale of a relationship split and the squabble of ownership of the mutt. “I hope he pisses all over your house and chews up your furniture when you ask him to do tricks.” ‘Can O’ Worms’ details the story of a witness to a murder and features a guest appearance of Spider Stacy from The Pogues on tin whistle and backing vocals.
Other outstanding highlights are ‘Love Song #666’ which is a brilliant tango “So I fucked your sister, tried it on with your mother, kicked the shit out of your brother, but darling I always loved you” With lyrics as well observed as this, you can’t go far wrong. The suicide lullaby ‘Emptiness’ which originally appeared on the promo e.p. “Sounds From The Urban Voodoo Machine” has been reworked and is better with the full band sound.
In short, albums this good only come along very infrequently, so get your copy while you can. This is the single one essential purchase of the year (unless they put out another one before Christmas!).