|From the Vault...
Wall Of Voodoo
© IRS Records
Year of Release: 1981
Two Minutes Till Lunch
Full Of Tension
Me And My Dad
Back In Flesh
Tse Tse Fly
Call Box (1-2-3)
This Way Out
Crack The Bell
Wall Of Voodoo related sites:
Wall Of Voodoo
Wall of Voodoo's first major label debut gets the nod for review this week, as this album (and for the band) represents the style of new wave
and/or punk. The band was named by the band's lead singer, Stan Ridgway before their first gig, While recording and overdubbing with a Kalamazoo Rhythm
Ace drum machine. Ridgway jokingly compared the machine and Farfisa-organ-laden recordings to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, whereu a friend made the
comment it sounded more like a "wall of voodoo." The band's name was then born. Other bandmembers were Marc Moreland (guitar), Bruce Moreland (bass)
[Marc's brother], Chas T. Gray (keyboards), and Joe Nanini (drums).
Early synthesizer pop and movie producer Ennio Morricone's soundtracks for Italian director Sergio Leone's epic western films of the 1960s is another
good comparison in the style of the Wall of Voodoo. They used mixing drum machines with unconventional instruments such as pots and pans and various
kitchen utensils. They featured raw electronics with interlocking melodic figures, as well as twangy spaghetti-western guitar. Ridgway's unusual vocal
style and highly stylized, cinematic narratives were heavily influenced by science fiction and films, singing with lyrics of ordinary people, incorporating
what would be references to the American Dream. Vocally and musically, the best to compare their sound, would be that to another popular band in the area
of new wave/punk, The B-52's. Many of the songs here on Dark Continent have introductions to their songs similar to Blondie's Heart Of
Glass -- The synthesizer intro. The synthesizer is heavily used on this album, as it truly does define the new wave/punk style. And quite honestly,
this is what a true new wave/punk album should sound like.
"Red Light" would probably be the lead single from this album, as it is a very good punk styled track. "Two Minutes Till Lunch" is a
quick song, yet it has a different ending, as if it was another song. Learning of the band's interest in "spaghetti western" soundtrack music, this is
now understandable. Having a different ending is also heard at the end of "Tse Tse Fly." Likewise the introduction of another track, "This
Way Out." On the latter tune, it's intro is definitely compared to a sci-fi movie soundtrack, as it is eerie sounding, as heard in most sci-fi
soundtracks. As for "spaghetti westerns," "Me And My Dad" could be used in that kind of movie soundtrack, and somehow I can easily hear this song
in a Quentin Tarintino movie, if he did decide to produce a "spagheti western" movie of his own.
As for the remaining tracks, they all are truly defined as punk wave/punk songs. The B-52's are compared throughout this album, especially on Back
In Flesh." Stan Ridgway has a very distinctive voice, just as The B-52's' lead singer, Fred Schneider.
Dark Continent would be the band's first full-length album, having a previous EP the year before, self-titled. "Ring Of Fire" (Johnny
Cash) was the hit from the EP. No major hits were from the debut album, yet their second album released in 1982, (Call Of The West) produced their
biggest hit, "Mexican Radio." Truthfully, I never really cared for this song. Yet, when I found Dark Continent (it may have been found in the
cut-out section; I can't really remember.) I was curious to hear other songs from this band. Little did I know, that this album would be their official
debut. Wall Of Voodoo would release 3 more albums from 1985 to 1989. Bandmembers Stan Ridgway, ANdy Prieboy and Marc Moreland pursued solo careers.
Another member, Joe Namini released an EP. Sad to say, 2 members passed away in the 2000 decade -- Joe Nanini of a brain hemmorage (2000), and Marc Moreland
of kidney and liver failure, in 2002. In 2006, Stan Ridgway reformed Wall Of Voodoo as an opening act for Cyndi Lauper. He would be the only original member.
In 2009, their first two albums (Dark Continent and Call Of The West were re-released on Raven Records. Raven also reissued/remastered Andy
Prieboy's solo albums, with bonus tracks.
New Wave/Punk fans will enjoy Wall of Voodoo's first major debut album, Dark Continent. The songs truly define these two genres. Quirky styled,
and Stan Ridgway's voice is distinctive, just as Fred Schneider's, of the B-52's. It's a good album to listen to, especially for those who enjoy New Wave
and Punk Rock music.
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