The Urban Voodoo Machine: Rare Gumbo – album review

The Urban Voodoo Machine, Rare Gumbo (Gypsy Hotel/Cadiz)
Available now

To celebrate their tenth anniversary The Urban Voodoo Machine have released a new compilation of rarities – Joe Whyte listens for Louder Than War.

Unbelievably, The Urban Voodoo Machine are marking their 10th Anniversary this year. Formed by Paul-Ronney Angel and ex-Flesh For Lulu frontman Nick Marsh inLondon, their alcohol drenched take on Noo Orleans blues crossed with demented folk-punk has been thrilling those in the know in sweaty venues all this time.

Festival crowds who’ve never heard the band have been turned on to their brand of onstage carnage throughout the last few years.

If you’ve never witnessed them, I urge you to do so.

Rare Gumbo compiles their early singles and b-sides, many of which were fan-only releases given away at their early Gypsy Hotel nights in the capital alongside radio sessions, unreleased tracks and other goodies.

The sometime-eleven piece band are a wild live proposition; two drummers basically running around the one kit whilst playing, the band in their trademark red and black outfits, Angel rocking a crazed fairground barker-cum-medicine-show-preacher vibe and the assorted lunacy unfolding around him.


Opening with the instrumental Last Dance Of the Silver Wolf, the album is a non-stop tirade through the “Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues, Bop and Stroll” that they’ve singularly patented. Blazing horns, thrashed acoustic, surf guitar and Angel’s sleazy, sinister tones are their trademark. Imagine if you will, Dexys in a stand-up fight with Shane MaGowan via some bar band from hell and you’d be close to TUVM’s sound.

You Got Me By The Balls is their twisted take on romance; Angel’s love-life is clearly rather somewhat colourful. Similarly, Six Weeks On the Road is a lament for a lover left at home whilst the anxious protagonist worries himself about her ability to remain celibate during his absence. “keep you’re pussy clean, I’m a-coming home” goes the refrain rather less than charmingly.

It’s not all bawdy ribaldry however; Go East (from In Black And Red) is given the BBC live session treatment and is, if anything, more crazed than the album version.

Recipe For Disaster is a real melodic gem: TUVM can clearly play and the songwriting is of a high standard throughout the album. Even as a catch-up of non-singles and discarded cuts, it’s a real journey through Angel and cohort’s craft with a killer hook.

A cover of AC/DC classic Hells Bells is a slowed-down, creeping monster and Love Song #666 is a highlight.

With a UK tour in May and the release of new studio album “Love, Drink And Death” scheduled for September, things are looking up in the world of TUVM.

Well, if their collective livers survive, that is.


The Urban Voodoo machine can be found at their website, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

All words by Joe Whyte. More of Joe’s work on Louder Than War can be found here.


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Joe Whyte is guitarist with punk rockin' Johnny Cash tribute Jericho Hill and reformed 70's punks Reaction. He has formerly played with End Result, Reverend Snakehips Country Messiahs, God-Fearing Atheists and many, many other failed attempts at rock notoriety. Joe also writes for Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War magazine. He lives in Glasgow and in his other less glamorous life works in mental health.


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