Voltaire

Ooky Spooky

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Having experimented very successfully with a straightforwardly serious album in Then and Again, Voltaire followed up his hilarious limited-edition live disc with a full new winner in the realm of truly black humor in Ooky Spooky. With Voltaire happily embracing mariachi horns as a new element to his music -- not perhaps as sudden a shift as Johnny Cash adding them to "Ring of Fire," but with a similarly enjoyable effect, matched with the great cover art -- the result is probably one of the best musical fusions all around, not to mention a perfect Tejano album under another name (not too strange when you realize the Eastern European origins of both that and Voltaire's previous efforts as a whole). The kick-up-your-heels, if your feet haven't rotted away, kick of lead single "Zombie Prostitute" was already familiar -- "I had a stiffy/For the stiff in front of me" is just one perfect line of snark among many -- and unsurprisingly benefits from both the swirling strings and the brass interjections in equal measure. Meanwhile, seemingly the-joke-is-all-in-the-title efforts like "Bomb New Jersey" and "Reggae Mortis" prove to be thorough gutbusters, while Amanda Palmer from the often similarly minded Dresden Dolls takes a great guest turn on "Stuck with You," a duet between obsessively dueling lovers who take it all the way to the grave and beyond. Throughout, Voltaire's excellent singing remains his not-so-secret weapon, jauntily vocalizing about white boy bullfighters and cannibal banquets with total élan. If there's a jaw-dropping moment, though, "Cantina," returning from its appearance on the Zombie Prostitute EP, might just be it -- a classic high-and-lonesome country & western song about the legendary bar scene in Star Wars. Except said scene didn't feature the song's narrator being repeatedly had by all the denizens of the bar in a mass interspecies omnisexual orgy, an omission in the original movie now utterly, perfectly corrected. Do not play at insecure fanboys, however.

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