Hoodoo Gurus

Mars Needs Guitars!

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The Hoodoo Gurus followed the excellent Stoneage Romeos with the equally swell Mars Needs Guitars!, a second helping of Dave Faulkner's wonderfully skewed kitsch-pop confections. While the band's basic m.o. hasn't changed all that much in the interim -- '60s-era pop, garage rock, and cowpunk remain their key musical reference points -- Faulkner's skills as a songwriter have grown perceptibly: the opening "Bittersweet" is an absolute gem, with other highlights like "Death Defying" and "Show Some Emotion" trailing not far behind. Also commendable is the Gurus' sharp wit -- from the hillbilly freakout of "Hayride to Hell" to the primitive B-movie stomp of the title track, their affection for the guilty pleasures of trash culture is infectious. Irresistible fun.

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