1987's Blow Your Cool! found the Hoodoo Gurus adding a considerable amount of polish to their production and toning down their trademark humor in a bid for a wider audience. But in the United States, it didn't pay off; Blow Your Cool! opened few new doors for the Gurus, and they were dropped by Elektra Records. Thankfully, 1989's Magnum Cum Louder found them newly contracted to RCA Records and sounding like their loyal fans loved them to sound -- loud, hooky, and rockin' out with a smile on their collective face. The album's opener, "Come Anytime," was the Gurus' most irresistible pop song since "Bittersweet," and "Another World," "All the Way," and "Baby Can Dance (Pts. II-IV)" proved they hadn't used up all their good hooks in one place. Meanwhile, those wanting something stronger got their fix with a handful of top-shelf rockers, most notably "Axegrinder," "Glamourpuss," "I Don't Know Anything," and "Death in the Afternoon." The high wackiness of Hoodoo Gurus classics like "Hayride to Hell" and "Dig It Up" is still missing from Magnum Cum Louder, but the overall tone is much more relaxed than Blow Your Cool!; Dave Faulkner seems to be having a fun with the songs here, especially the mock-pompous "Axegrinder," the smirking "Glamourpuss," and the baseball saga/music biz metaphor "Where's That Hit." The Hoodoo Gurus also went back to producing themselves, and the audio is full but uncluttered, with a roomy, natural sounding mix that flatters Brad Shepherd's guitars and Mark Kingsmill's drums more than the slicker, sterile sound of Blow Your Cool! Magnum Cum Louder proved that the Hoodoo Gurus knew better than anyone how to make a great Hoodoo Gurus album, and it marked a welcome return to form for the band.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming