Volume 93, Issue 40

Wednesday, November 10, 1999


Collector less-than-meaty effort

Bachelor should've been left at the alter

Wild Game makes most of nothing

Voodoo Daddy captivates listeners with classic style

Voodoo Daddy captivates listeners with classic style

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
This Beautiful Life

While pop culture pundits predict the demise of swing music, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy keep on trucking in their newest effort, This Beautiful Life, with a style that will never become unfashionable.

True the group has their fingers firmly planted in the proverbial cookie jar that is swing, but unlike other bands that comprise the genre, Voodoo Daddy rely much more on a jazz sound. The seven member group utilizes a plethora of instruments, from baritone sax to bass clarinet. And dammit, they can play.

The opening track, "Big and Bad," features big beats and a sizzling saxophone solo, giving the listener a raucous introduction to the album. This is followed by a latin-flavoured take on "I Wanna Be Like You" (think Disney's Jungle Book... there you go).

The highlight of the album is the blazing "What's Next?" This track is a throwback to the golden 1920s era of jazz. The song features some of the finest piano work this side of Jerry Lee Lewis.

As adept as they are at keeping a frenetic pace, Voodoo Daddy can also slow the pace with the best of them. "Who's That Creepin'?" and "Some Things" are a couple of songs which should conjure images of an intimate, smoky jazz lounge.

The only quibble with the album is some of the songs contain a homogeneous quality which make it difficult to discern one from another.

However, with This Beautiful Life, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy prove their music to be a beautiful thing.

–Terry Warne

Jimmie's Chicken Shack
Bring Your Own Stereo

Surfer hip-hop. Hippie metal. Korn for stoners. It's not easy to categorize Jimmie's Chicken Shack, but it's easy to enjoy them. On their new album, Bring Your Own Stereo, this Southern California quartet serves up an excellent dish of crunching guitars, groove heavy rhythms and creative lyrics.

In a style which seems to parallel all of their South Cali predecessors, the album takes a Sublime/Operation Ivy meets Snoop Dogg flavour. The CD has its moments of catchy pop punk, only to be complimented by much deeper and harder songs. As a whole, it's definitely one to keep playing in the stereo for awhile.

"Lazy Boy Dash" and the first single "Do Right" are excellent tracks, despite their resemblance to Barenaked Ladies material. The former is not only an ode to a recliner, but also a metaphoric testament to the effects of excessive marijuana use.

"Ooh," the album's fifth track, is a pot-smoking love song with simple poppy lyrics and a really addictive guitar riff, destined for top 40 standing.

There is also a strong reggae influence on the album. "String of Pearls," despite its endless lyrical repetition and "Let's Get Flat" both have excellent reggae guitars and great toe tapping beats. "Trash," probably one of the best songs on the CD, is a tongue-in-cheek punk song complete with social commentary about the decaying society we live in and a basic three chord guitar hook.

From here the album becomes, at least lyrically, more inflective. While musically it stands up with the rest of the album, the verse is heavy with themes of abandonment and isolation. "Face It" is essentially a metal track dealing with the end of a relationship. "Waiting," "Silence Again" and "Pure" all give the same impression. The album ends with the sweet "30 Days," a love song with strings and heartfelt sentiment – this is the song somebody probably got beat up for writing.

The album is a solid effort and definitely an improvement for a band known for their live shows rather than their album strength. Still, one can only hope this is just a creative platform and not the apex for this band.

–Steve Schwartz

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Copyright The Gazette 1999