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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hoodoo Gurus - Magnum Cum Louder

Name: Hoodoo Gurus
Album: Magnum Cum Louder
Year: 1989
Style: Alternative / College Radio
Similar Bands: REM, Midnight Oil, Gin Blossoms, Replacements, INXS
"One-Word" Review: Gen-reclectic-college-favorites
Based Out Of: Sydney, Australia
Label: RCA, BMG, Artista/Ariola Limited
Magnum Cum Louder - Cover, Back & Tape
Magnum Cum Louder - Liner Notes, Tape

Magnum Cum Louder (1989)
  1. Come Anytime 3:20
  2. Another World 3:16
  3. Axegrinder 3:27
  4. Shadow Me 3:41
  5. Glamourpuss 2:36
  6. Hallucination 5:05/
  7. All The Way 3:11
  8. Baby Can Dance (Pts 2-4) 3:17
  9. I Don't Know Anything 4:07
  10. Where's That Hit? 3:56
  11. Death in the Afternoon 4:08
Album Rating (1-10): 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Dave Faulkner - Guitar, Hamond Organ, Vox (the Victims, Antenna, Persian Rugs)
Rick Grossman - Bass, Vox (Matt Finish, DiVinyls, Ghostwriters, The Kelly Gang, Persian Rugs)
Mark Kingsmill - Drums, Grunts (The Hitmen, New Christs, Screaming Tribesmen, Hellcats, Super K, Persian Rugs)
Brad Shepherd - Guitar, Harmonica, Vox, Idea for cover (Fun Things, The Hitmen, Super K, Ghostwriters,Beasts of Bourbon, Roddy Ray'Da and the Surfin' Caesars , Replacements, Shutterspeed, The Monarchs, Persian Rugs )
Alan Thorne - Engineer
Dave Thoener - Mix
David Mackie - Asst Engineer
Dary "Pig" Sulich - Asst. Engineer
Tim Leitner - Asst. Engineer
Barbara Mills - Asst. Engineer
George Marino - Mastering
Sluggo McMartin - Behind the Plate on "Where's That Hit"
Stephanie Faulkner - Backing Vox
Richard Allen - Cover Art
Adrienne Overall - Photograpy & Montage
Michael McMartin - Management

Unknown-ness: I had heard the name Hoodoo Gurus somewhere before, but I cannot say under what circumstances. On the basis of name recognition alone, at some point I bought this tape. I don’t know when, or if I ever listened to it, but there it sat on my tape shelf for a long time. I think I had thought of them as a quirky alternative/college radio rock band. I don’t know if they have silly lyrics or not but I came to the conclusion of regarding them as a band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously somehow. The name, picture and font all blend together to seem like an African witch doctor, but finding out they were from Australia, an outback medicine man might be a better basis.

Album Review: “Come Anytime” begins with acoustic guitar, reminding me of “Jane Says” and then electric guitar is quickly added. The vocals begin and my first thought was REM, which quickly transmorphs into Midnight Oil. So I think that is a good combo to describe the vocals, and music as well. The chorus features a catchy melody sung in a few up and down variations. It is a good delivery from the anticipating in the verse. The organ adds a great thickness and depth to the song.
“Another World” also begins with the acoustic guitar and this feels even more like Midnight oil, with a shaky vocal performance. The music is a meandering college radio rock song, predecessor to the Gin Blossoms. There is no real build and release like most pop songs have, this is just a repetitive camp fire singalong with the same unchanging melody, eventually broken down to la la la-ing along at the end.
“Axegrinder” Echoing drums that almost sound like from a drum machine begin this one, and the lyrics are sung fast over the music, similar to INXS. It feels like it is trying to be a metal song, but just can’t get there, wrapped up in too much light production. The chord progression is pretty identical to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” And the song ends with the chorus repeated and a looping electric guitar like a siren.
“Shadow Me” is an honest ballad, reminding me of the sincerity in much of James catalogue. I am reminded of their song “Runaground.” Although popular at the time, the echoing, jangley guitar really dates the song, and makes me lose interest pretty fast.
“Glamourpuss” picks up the pace with a rough, coked-up grainy rock-a-billy punk like repetitive guitar hook. It drives on somewhat fast with a few hiccups in the vocals, which builds character. But the song never rests for the full 2:36.
“Hallucination” is a somewhat boring head swaying song with a choir of vocals used as a break chanting ahhh at the end of every measure. The chorus is a bit faster and fun, but over all, it is a drab song. The musical break is predominately electric guitar and harmonica. The vocals sound like they get further and further away ending up by an echoing shell by the end.

“All The Way” is a catchy pop rock song. I’m not fond of the vocals, like a less deep Brian Ritchie. But the chorus that the song began with repeats a few times: the catchy “hey-hey-heys.” The short interlude is all lead guitar, and the chorus comes back for a final round.
“Baby Can Dance (Pts 2-4)” begins with quiet whispering, overlaid vocals. The drums kick in and the combating vocals synch up like it is a Flight Of The Conchords song. The song transitions to an anthemic head nodding section after the instrumental section. The song is powerful with the dual vocals. It ends with a few final guitar strums.
“I Don’t Know Anything” blasts off fast and furious with an interesting, catchy bass line and driving drums. The song changes up a couple of times, throwing varieties of the melody over the drum, bass, & rhythm guitar steady canvas.
“Where's That Hit?” begins with the organ playing ballpark baseball songlettes. Then the dusty driving country tinged song trucks along. There is a short breakdown where the baseball organ plays the “Charge!” theme. And the song dives back into the path of traffic with harmonica guiding. The song ends with some more vartiations on the “Charge” theme even altered with a harmonica.
“Death in the Afternoon” is a middle album track places at the end to keep momentum going. But it’s the last song, so it doesn’t have anything to work toward. The chorus is a catchy, multi-voiced chanting hook, which utters the title of the song. The guitars parallel its melody instrumentally. The vocals have lots of energy to them. Police sirens and screeching tires play out as the song winds down with the music overstaying its welcome.

Stand Out Track: Come Anytime

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