A hugely entertaining album that has great energy and a feel-good factor, something akin to seeing the Sheiks live. These guys give 110% all the time and deserve great credit for the courage to put an album together in this format.
If you have not heard of The Voodoo Sheiks before I urge you to experiment with this fine offering and catch them live first chance you get!
NIGEL FOSTER - BLUES IN BRITAIN
Bluesdoodles Review April 2015
Opening with The Thrill Ain’t Gone, with deep moody bass clash of cymbals harp and the beat picking up before the vocals, this is blues that didn’t grab me from the off, not sure why the timing was a bit rushed but the lyrics were clever and the Voodification could take time to work its magic.
Voodoo Sheiks, shake-it up with energy that has a live feel in this their second album and amongst the mix of tones the tempo is always high speed, with influences from pub rock especially early Dr Feelgood. By the time the keyboards from special guest Paul Johnson kicked in on Flying Fortress I was into the groove and Voodoo Sheiks approach to Rhythm and Blues was making sense to me. This is a four-piece that wants to play their music in a style that is loyal but not constrained by any genre, they have a British approach in the instrumentation and Exit Wound is slower giving time for the music to shape around the distinctive Slowblow Dave Magson’s vocals who has a timbre that counteracts the guitar work from Adrian Thomas.
The rhythm section is the powerhouse of the band driving the songs along spitting out a stylish beat. Often it is Andy Pullin’s bass that provides the hook for the vocals as on, Build Me A Woman the first of the covers catches your attention, they have now lost that frenetic intensity of the first few tracks and all the better for that in my opinion. This is definitely back to pub rock and a Feelgood factor with the harp and vocals from Slowblow Dave and driving guitar which will definitely get people up and dancing whenever they hear New Boogie Disease; with John Coombes drums kicking the beat you just have to boogie the night away.
One of my personal favourite Allman Brothers tracks, Whipping Post, now receives the Voodoo treatment and the bass at the beginning is beguiling and the guitar work tight from Adrian Thomas, the vocals were a bit strained and lacked the urgency I would have expected this band to have pulled off, but an interesting arrangement that fits well into the shape of the album.
Negative Equity Blues is full of blues with contemporary lyrics and the beat is back up to a high octane level leading into the penultimate track Show and Tell with their observations on social media the vocals immersed in the guitar work of Adrian who delivers a stylish solo.
Ending with Monkey DNA we are treated to a duet of harp and drums at the beginning which works so well for me this is a track that epitomizes the power of the Voodoo Sheiks style and approach to music. Picking up with a jiving bass driven beat and a monkey at the heart a common animal for many a blues album; this is music that definitely isn’t monkeying around; with lots of guitar, harp and music form the quartet.
The album is definitely full of dark energy, and excellent musicianship, Voodoo Sheiks have included three covers and nine self-penned numbers full of rooted blues music that is then contorted into the musical texture they want to deliver on the album. The result is a high energy, raw, live sound produced and recorded over four days in a studio, this is a band in a hurry to put you under their spell and make Voodifcation a household word for pub rock infused blues.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD SEVEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Whilst something borrowed shows a deep sense of adoration to another lover, there is always something very special about having the new rub along with the novel and standing shoulder to shoulder with the fresh and innovative.
Following on from last year’s gracious Borrowed & New, The Voodoo Sheiks’ latest albumVoodification not only celebrates the sheer beauty of the continued mix of Blues Rock that the previous album gave out in waves but also the intrigue that the band place before their fans in the new album. It is the dichotomy of the musical soul, the chance to stay lauded where you have previously laid the lyrics and testament of the well placed guitar note or move on, take yet another stride towards a kind of permanent place in the pantheon before them.
Nobody in their right mind would ever stay still, for in that is a sign of creative madness and whilst Voodoo is the order of the day, magic is the order of Time and magic is certainly what The Voodoo Sheiks provide in Blues abundance throughout Voodification.
Adrian Thomas’ guitar plays like a wand being used by some mythical Wizard, a grand Vizier with so much up his sleeve that the sound of each note reverberates as if being plucked by harpist with delicate fingers but who fancies a change of scene and to wear more comfortable clothes. The integration of Slowblow Dave’s actual harp and sincere vocals, Andy Pullin’s bass and the deep resonating howl of style and steady pace of John Coombes’ Drums are almost like a pastoral dream being played out before the listener. The whispering of grass, the hard to hear but ultimately worth the wait of a cuckoo sending out signals that its ready to date and the gentle buzz of several bees collecting pollen in a nearby flowerbed could not sound as sweet as what the band have placed down for eternity.
Tracks such as Have A Heart, Exit Wound, Build Me A Woman, Negative Equity Blues andMonkey DNA have a sense of charming, the enchanting, the thrill of the clean and pure, but with a huge hint of the dirty unexplained strides across it all, the Wizard’s wand spreads joy wherever it senses the lacklustre and the beige.
In just one year the progression is to be admired, to bring out two quality albums in the space of 12 months is to be thankful that a band can care that much. For The Voodoo Sheiks, the spell is firmly in place and the listener is happy to be under the thrall.
Ian D. Hall