REVIEW: VOODOO VEGAS – “Freak Show Candy Floss”
Something wicked this way comes. So best beware the ringmaster if you’re not up for being lured into something big, bold and dangerous. With its lead single alone containing more comic book references than a Comic Con convention, and with a cartoonish album cover looking like it was designed on a budget of $20.00, Voodoo Vegas invite you step right up and feast your ears upon their latest album, ‘Freak Show Candy Floss.’ The follow up to the band’s debut record ‘The Rise of Jimmy Silver’ and last years EP ‘Hypnotise,’ the real question ‘Freak Show Candy Floss’ asks is, does the ringmaster really deliver, or is it all just a case of musical smoke and mirrors, with lots of gimmickry and dazzle and nothing much else?
Comprised of ten new tracks V.V’s latest effort sees hard rock meet circus tent, meet comic convention, meet cartoon. It’s raw, powerful yet wonderfully playful too. “Backstabber”, “Long Time Gone” and the Aerosmith track Aerosmith never got to write, “Resolution”, all equally sway, swagger and sting through the first run. But V.V. don’t rest on their laurels or their intros, and hard rockin’ comic book nerds have a major treat in store with lead single “Killing Joke.” Referencing the original graphic novel and both Nolan’s and Burton’s iconic takes on Batman, ‘Killing Joke’ is almost too good to bear. A great song on its own merit musically, the subtle touches lyrically respectfully nod to the clown prince of crime, giving this track some extra kudos, making it almost impossible not to smile that ol’ scarred smile from ear to ear. Why so serious, indeed! And why stop there with the good stuff!
With blistering harmonica solos in “Lady Divine,” an uncompromising “Black Heart Woman” and a ballad with teeth in “Sleepin in the Rain” which concludes on a beautiful fade out outro, the maturity and diversity that shine through on this album highlight that V.V. may like to joke, but they themselves are no joke. But if musically and lyrically ‘Freak Show Candy Floss’ is a treat, production is less than it might have been in places. The strong, dynamic vocals of Lawrence Case are slightly smothered at times, seeming to suffer some uneven level gauging. With musicians Ash Moulton (bass), Meryl Hamilton (guitar), Jonno Smyth (drums) and Jon Dawson (guitar) all sounding so big on the album, Case’s powerful vocals sometimes end up sitting a little behind the drum and guitar, as in the chorus of ‘Killing Joke’ to give but one example, and some of the power gets lost for a moment. But only for a moment.
Fans old and new will find no filler in ‘Freak Show Candy Floss.’ A rampage from start to finish, with even the ballads showing some edge, ‘Freak Show Candy Floss’ proudly celebrates the overlooked privilege of being odd or just a little different. So if the freak show comes ’round your way and the ringmaster comes calling, let your curiosity grab hold and take a peek behind the curtain. And feast your eyes and ears on ‘Freak Show Candy Floss’ an album that could well prove itself worthy of being considered spectacular.