Voodoo Blue

Smile N Nod

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If the band name has you expecting swampy roots rock, think again. Voodoo Blue plays straight-up power pop with a slightly punky edge, but you wouldn't exactly call them pop-punk: their sound is more crispy than crunchy and they never succumb to speed for speed's sake. Imagine a less corporate-sounding and more personable Click Five and you'll have a good idea what to expect. They make a mighty big sound for a three-piece, in part because all three of them sing harmonies (and sing them very, very well). They also make an impressive variety of sounds within the general boundaries of their genre: there are, for example, the stomping 6/8 rhythm on "Great Escape," the sugar-sweet harmonizing on "Cherry Hill," the faint whiff of cowpunk and the weird drum-line coda on "31st Street (Drumline)," and the deceptively simple-sounding "Beach Blanket Boredom," with its strangely baroque bridge. The lyrics won't change your world view but they won't embarrass you either (though someone needs to tell these guys that "Where the hell is rock & roll?" is a dumb question). Overall, this is a very fine album from a band that bears watching.

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