Stoneage Romeos

Hoodoo Gurus

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Stoneage Romeos Review

by Mark Deming

"Shake some action/Psychotic reaction/No satisfaction/Sky pilot, Sky Saxon/That's what I like/Blitzkrieg bop/To the jailhouse rock/Stop stop, at the hop/Do the bluejean bop/That's what I like!" In the first verse of "(Let's All) Turn On," Hoodoo Guru's frontman Dave Faulkner summed up the band's aesthetic so well that elaborating almost seems pointless, but while it's obvious that Faulkner and his friends had a healthy appreciation of rock & roll's past, one listen to their debut album, Stoneage Romeos, made clear they thought music was having a pretty good present, too. The Hoodoo Gurus played power pop with the force and enthusiasm of a full-bore rock band, and while they loved '60s garage rock (as if "(Let's All) Turn On" and "In the Echo Chamber" would permit any doubt on the subject), there was a lot more going on than that -- check out the pop rock of "I Want You Back," the neo-exotica of "Zanzibar," the psychobilly of "Dig It Up," the heartbroken lament of "My Girl," and the straight-ahead rock of "I Was a Kamikaze Pilot." Faulkner, guitarist Brad Shepherd, bassist Clyde Bramley, and drummer James Baker loaded their songs with catchy melodies and killer pop hooks and played 'em with the sweaty enthusiasm of a crack rock & roll band that knew the value of a great tune. And Stoneage Romeos is funny as hell without sounding like the work of a joke band; the Gurus loved a good laugh, but they loved a good tune even more. Stoneage Romeos ranks with the most solid debut albums of the 1980s, and if you don't like the Hoodoo Gurus, I suspect you don't like rock & roll very much.

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