Hoodoo Gurus – Purity of Essence (Hoodoo Gurus Records) – CD review –
For almost thirty years, Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus have looked to classic American rock for their influences; blending elements of garage rock, psychedelia, girl groups, power pop and punk.
Their previous effort, Mach Schau from 2004, was a deliberate attempt to crank the amps up to eleven and rock hard. Although it had some good songs, the variety of styles was sorely missed. For their first new disc in six years, Purity of Essence, the “Gurus are back to doing what they do best, mixing it up. The first single, “Crackin’ Up,” is a driving rocker, and one of the best things they’ve done in years, while “Burnt Orange” is garage punk as it’s finest. That retro element extends to the end of “I Hope You’re Happy,” where they break into a chorus of Marvin Gaye’s “Can I Get a Witness.”
But, there is new ground covered as well: “Are You Sleeping” has a droning, hypnotic effect with its call and response verses, while “Ashamed of Me” has a blues feel, not heard from before. There’s even room for a little biting commentary, as in “Only in America.” The real surprise with Purity of Essence is that this doesn’t sound like a band that’s been around for almost three decades. In fact, the entire disc has a youthful energy that puts it right up there with the best records they’ve ever done. –Tony Peters