This is the second time I’ve written this review…
Which is ironic (the size of which would ruin Alanis’s mind) given that I spent much of the first attempt at writing it apologising for how long it had taken me – no, not because of the threat of redundancy, or Christmas chaos (how many men really bother with Christmas until 48hrs beforehand?) or being a lazy get.
No, this was due to the fact I’d been so preoccupied with living, breathing and playing Voo I’d actually been weighing up a fitting way in which to do them justice.
Then as I completed, what I considered a rather fine piece of prose, this here website decided to crash, sending my gushing words of positivity spiralling into the interweb ether.
To make matters worse, I’d composed said review at 1.30am – finishing around 3am – due to a severe bout of insomnia. Having clicked ‘back’, ‘refresh’ and any other known retrieval method and realised all hope of recovery was lost I then (having restrained myself from lashing the laptop at the wall) failed to sleep for a good deal longer.
So here we are. Apologies to Kate (who’s been expecting an EP review for about a month), and anyone else expecting reviews to be forthcoming but I’m determined more than ever to get this done. Preferably before February.
And as anyone knows, with the exception of The Godfather, and possibly Aliens, sequels are always a letdown, so I’m going to keep most of this brief. Again, this is kinda ironic given this quite ridiculous pre-amble.
So, Voo. Quite how this lot have escaped my attention is unfathomable – I put it down to the pants shifts working in Sport – but they’ve been gigging round Liverpool since 2005 – and such is their regularity on the home turf, that post gig when asking Ellis (who’s artfully quoffing house Merlot at the till) if he’s seen them before, he replies ‘only about 13 fucking times.’
B’jasus. Talk about playing catch up. Thankfully, bass player Paul Jones, helps out on that score by presenting us with a copy of their debut LP Dates, Facts & Figures, released on Spank Records in 2006, a record which captures their essence to a tee; chk-aa-chk-chk guitars, nifty bouyant rhythms courtesy of John Wallace, and winsome harmonies reminiscent of prime Stipe/Mills circa Reckoning wrapped up in three minute pop parcels.
They’re that good. In fact playing their record it’s impossible not to remember the first time I dusted off Murmur from my dad’s tape collection. Or indeed walking down Prescot Road to secondary school with Sugar‘s Copper Blue hissing from the Saisho walkman.
Live they’re a more ballsy explosion, with subtle electronic bursts sprinkled in the mix and instrumental closer Schnick Schnack Schuck which blows the doors off anything else on offer tonight. If there’s a criticism, Graham Jones‘s vocals sometimes strain in a Jimi Goodwin of Doves manner, but this only seems to add to their slightly rough round the edges emotive charge – and with Paul lending rich harmonies the effect is dazzling.
Indeed, on record these harmonies are Voo’s most potent weapon as they circle and criss-cross in a merry dance which’ll have you humming and attempting to decipher the ambiguous lyrical code on offer.
Perhaps the most delightful aspect of Voo’s magic is their want to keep things simple – fittingly, a track on Dates… is actually called Made Simple; a two-minute slice of whirlwind jangle and piping hot drum thwacking; nothing particularly ambitious, just first-rate songwriting.
Elsewhere guest vocalist Amo lends her schoolgirl hush to Constant Threat Of Falling Buildings as Death Cab electronica weaves into the mix while Favourite Films the Films We Like showcases their lo-fi mystery as the odd audible word cuts through the bluster as Graham’s guitar works its way straight to the heart.
Voo play Korova on Wednesday. I’ll be there, and I’d suggest you do the same.
Also served up:
Mega, yet not quite the scaling the heights that expectation had done so well to build out of all proportion. Best bits included Gerardo ‘Reggie’ Guerrero‘s smashes of africana among the battering of the kit and Juan Valazquez‘s tip-toe strut complete with eyes-rolling-into-back-of-skull routine revealing whites akin to a cue ball at the Crucible.
Married To The Sea:
Another of Liverpool’s rich tapestry who marry part standard indie with a much more preferable folksy electronica which is guaranteed to be a winner with the ladies. Certainly worth a second listen.
Vocalist Shaun Hencher has done his homework; all spazz-junky-not-really-arsed routine finds him dancing like his knees are glued together and feet sewn on the wrong legs while shaking beer around. Frantically US art-punk, the much-tipped Wichita lot are better live than on record, but really they’re that band you’ve seen play second at every ATP festival ever.
Voo: For Sake Of Space