Hoodoo Gurus – Chariot of the Gods (Big Time/EMI)
This album will make you believe in rock n’ roll again.
Despite having a knack for writing infectious songs, Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus have managed to fly under the radar for over 40 years. The band is back with their first new album in eleven years called Chariot of the Gods, and it contains some of the best music of their entire career.
The Hoodoo Gurus’ gift has always been their ability to straddle Troggs-inspired, garage rock, with Beatle-soaked melodic hooks, delivered with a New York Dolls’ sneer. All of this is on display on this extremely solid album.
The record starts with “Early Opener” – it’s a throwback to the way their debut album began; the sound of a bar, people talking. But, this time, we hear the strains of an acoustic version of “Come Anytime,” one of the Gurus’ most-recognizable songs.
This gives way to the primitive stomper, “World of Pain.” A whole lot of people turned to the bottle for solace during the pandemic. It’s heavy on the bass, as leader Dave Faulkner admits “it’s just the same damn things again.”
“Get Outta Dodge” features some killer slashing chords, and a great, sing a long chorus. The lyrics certainly are appropriate for our divisive climate – “people here are blinded by hate / they won’t meet you in the middle / and we found out a little too late.”
The midtempo rocker,“Was I Supposed to Care,” borrows the main riff from Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”
The amazing thing is vocalist Dave Falkner still sounds great after all these years.
The high-energy rocker, “Hangin with the Girls,” deals with gender stereotypes, while “My Imaginary Friend” features a Byrds-esque 12 string guitar.
“Equinox,” with guitarist Brad Shepherd on vocals, has a Sunshine Pop feel, while “Hang Out to Dry” is a punk rockin’ good time.
The lead single is a fabulous melodic rocker, “Carry On.” A great positive song for this troubled times.
The lone cover on the album doesn’t sound out of place at all. “I Wanna Be Your Man” is an early Beatles’ track that was also the Stones’ debut single. Seriously, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think the Gurus wrote it.
Few bands last 40 years. Of those, not many are making great music anymore. The Hoodoo Gurus have somehow managed to weather the years and still sound as fresh as they did on their debut album. Chariot of the Gods is a welcome return and a damn good rock n’ roll record. –Tony Peters