HOODOO GURUS RETURN
Author: Bruce Jenkins Date Posted:3 June 2022
A full decade on from their last studio release, Sydney’s Hoodoo Gurus have just released a new album, Chariot Of The Gods. With a title one letter shy of Erich von Däniken’s popular alien conspiracy book of the late 1960s, the double LP is packed with quality songs grounded in modern life but reaching for the stars.
Opening glam rock stomper "World Of Pain" has a protagonist who definitely needs drug and alcohol counselling yet is belligerently determined not to change his ways. "Get Out Of Dodge" is a catchy rocker that would have fitted right into the College radio playlists of 1980s America (where the Hoodoo Gurus had considerable presence). As it bounces along, you realise that this is no retirement project but a new and vital record from a tight, enthusiastic band.
There is plenty of guitar slash and twang to please long-time fans—"Hung Out To Dry" is a prime example, "Answered Prayers" another— yet it is the consistent quality of the songwriting that provides a through-line of excellence to delight Guru believers and convert new fans.
Faulkner’s lyrics were always a cut above the rest, and it is a pleasure to report that he has lost none of his edge. The closing track, "Got To Get You Out Of My Life", is an example:
We had a friendship that went way back
But I got tired of always dodging flak.
Now you amuse like a heart attack.
You put me down and I’m out.
Yes I’m out.
Most of the songs were written by Faulkner, with a couple of solid contributions from Brad Shepherd. His stomping rocker "I Come From The Future" punches out of the speakers while "Equinox" is a breezy slice of pure pop.
Indeed, the album skips across the solar system of pop-rock, deftly hopping from one asteroid to the next and deploying finely tuned retro rockets to land smoothly. The glorious power pop of the Hoodoos is evident in "Carry On": strong backbeat, soaring harmonies, catchy chorus, hint of darkness in the lyric. It’s up there with the best of The Rembrandts or Jules Shear. "Was I Supposed To Care" has more than a hint of classic Crowded House while "My Imaginary Friend" evokes Tom Petty with its rich guitar line and crafted structure.
"Chariot Of The Gods"… At a touch over five minutes, the title track is the longest on the record. Coming at the end of side two, it is a kind of centrepiece. Dave Faulkner demonstrates his love of science fiction with a space invader story straight from the H.G. Wells songbook.
The vinyl version of Chariot Of The Gods has bonus tracks, including a couple of top shelf covers. Bob Dylan’s "Obviously Five Believers", a deep cut from 1966’s Blonde On Blonde, has plenty of blues swagger, and when this flows into "I Wanna Be Your Man" (a Lennon-McCartney song first released by The Rolling Stones) it feels like the best Sixties party an old hippy ever boasted about.
The genesis of this collection of songs was in the endless lockdowns of the past couple of years. Shut down and cooped up, they wrote songs, discovering the essence of the Hoodoo Gurus along the way. A short tour is planned for September 2022 so fans will be keen to hitch a ride with a friendly alien space ship and catch them live. It’ll be a blast.
© Bruce Jenkins 2022