LABEK: WHITE BUFFALO
REVIEW BY: ALAN HOLLOWAY
Voodoo who? Haha, what a hoot wordplay is, eh rockin' readers? Seriously, though, not having heard of this Midlands based UK band is not a surprise, but not getting to know them very soon may be a mistake you'll wish you never made. First heard in the 90s, they gained a good reputation through hard work, winning a national radio competition (on The Friday Rock Show) and the release of a superb debut, 'S.K.R.A.P.E'. Then it all just didn't work and they vanished into the ether. In 1997.
It's now 2020, and the Sioux are back with their second album since reforming ten years ago. The last one, 'Grotesque Familiares' (2013), was a real kick in the nuts for fans (in a good way, natch), and so excitement has been building for this one. Worth the wait? Is Gene Simmons a greedy bastard? (That's a yes, by the way).
Opener 'Running On Empty' really plays to the bands basic strengths, with a powerful guitar, catchy melody and replayability to the moon and back. 'Pandora's Box' follows with a crunchier sound and a no less catchy chorus, and brings in a favourite trick of letting vocalist Nicky Flaherty have a littls solo moment in the sun before being joined again by guitars. '(You Make Me Wanna be A) Better Man' brings a lighter touch and a chorus that won't quit, after which things are slowed down for 'Into The Garden', one of a few emotional acoustic tracks spotted amongst thirteen songs that lasts comfortably over an hour.
Voodoo Sioux prove over and over again that the fact they never became superstars is a criminal oversight. Flaherty has a top notch voice that seems like someone got Joe Elliot and Noel Gallagher fused together in a cloning machine, whilst the music has it's roots in straightforward rock but it's flowers reaching out for funk, pop and psychedelia, yet never losing those essential roots. There's nothing here I haven't fallen in love with, from the aggression and melody of 'Alias The Jester' to the simple but moving acoustic 'Dreamcatcher', all capped off with a beautiful piano version of 'Can't Stand To See You Cry' from the debut. Perfect.
If the name rings a little bell in your head, this is that band you liked years ago but forgot. If you're a fan, then this album will not disappoint in any way. If you're oblivious, then you need to buy this, enjoy it, and track down the other two, because trust me that's exactly what you'll want to do whilst you scour the listings to see if they're playing near you. If this isn't in my top five at the end of the year I'll buy a hat, because I'll have to eat it. Time to take your medicine...