21 Apr 2021
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Voodoo Bloo - Album Review: Jacobus

14 Dec 2020 // A review by Kev Rowland

Voodoo Bloo is the new project from ex-Lucifer Gunne frontman Rory McDonald who has decided to take his music in a new direction, and consequently has created a new entity, where for this album he recorded it all himself. Mind you, he hasn’t totally left his old band behind, as the opening song on the album was also the opening number on the last Lucifer Gunne EP, One Day You'll Be The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Someone, but here Pigs On Antibiotics (Exploding Song) is far more dramatic with the song being way more edgy. What one notices right from the off is that McDonald has an incredibly strong voice, in which he has enormous confidence, which means his vocals are clear and he often holds long notes with ease. There is never any strain, and there is no doubt that his style has been hugely impacted by honorary Kiwi, Serj Tankian. Musically there is also a great deal going on to back up the Tankian reference, as System of a Down are an obvious influence, although McDonald also references softer acts such as Car Seat Headrest and Neutral Milk Hotel as being important as well.

From here on in the album takes on a life of its own, crunching and heavy, yet with those wonderful vocals to the fore, always at the front of what is going on. There are times when it is incredibly catchy, going into territory more normally considered the home of the likes of Panic! At The Disco, and it is often hard to realise that not only is this a solo album, but it is by someone who has only been in the music scene for a relatively small number of years. That it comes across as really punchy is of no surprise when one realises that it was produced by Greg Haver, mixed by Scott Seabright and mastered by Ryan Smith, all of whom have ensured it hits hard. There are also times when it is incredibly progressive, and there are sections on Her Name Was Human which could easily have come from Geoff Mann and Twelfth Night. It is an album which is incredibly layered, with plenty of depth so the more that one listens to it, the more there is to get out of it. This is also one where it pays to concentrate on the lyrics, as McDonald has a very important message to get out to everyone.

In 2019 a close friend of his committed suicide while McDonald was overseas. Not only did that have a massive impact on him but being away from all his friends made him feel even more isolated and he wrote lyrics describing how he felt, using it as a cathartic experience during one of the strangest and scariest times of his life. When asked how to describe the album he said, “it is split into two different parts: The first half sharing how I believe a lot of young people in this country (and even worldwide) get into these situations where they feel lost or that the world is against them. The second part, describing the grief and acceptance of the loss of a very dear friend, who I promised would not just become another statistic in a problem that doesn’t seem to be declining.”

The band have been performing charity events, raising funds for mental health,  and I am looking forward to catching up with them live in the near future, as this is an incredibly powerful album in absolutely every area. It punches when it needs to, sits back, and takes a break when it is time for contrast and dynamics, yet with wonderful vocals and loads of hooks which keep the listener invested throughout. This is something which really benefits from being played on good headphones, very loudly indeed, and letting the rest of the world just slip past. This is something which anyone into SOAD or that style of metal will get a great deal from, yet it is also broad ranging with numbers such as Ha Ha Ok Ok designed to be anthems both on the airwaves and at the gig.

This really is an essential release from an exciting band.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Voodoo Bloo

Voodoo Bloo is a powerful rock-driven project, led by Rory McDonald. Their sounds are very much influenced by harder hitting acts like Arctic Monkeys and System of a Down, as well as some singer-songwriter artists such as Car Seat Headrest and Neutral Milk Hotel, which brings a great blend of emotional and conceptual songwriting with a very catchy and frequently danceable distorted mess.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Voodoo Bloo

Releases

Jacobus
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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