The Urban Voodoo Machine - Hellbound Hymns album review

A celebration of life with glasses raised high.

The Urban Voodoo Machine Hellbound Hymns album cover

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Despite the tragic passing of guitarist Nick Marsh and fiddle player Rob ‘The Kid’ Skipper, the rambunctious beast that is The Urban Voodoo Machine continues to party against the odds. And while there’s always been a gritty realism beneath their infectious fusion of rock’n’roll, blues, jazz, klezmer music and whatever else can be thrown into their spicy gumbo, there’s an added element of poignancy about this, their fourth studio album.

Yet whether dealing with apathy (While We Were All Asleep), drug abuse (Love And Addiction) or deceased members (Fallen Brothers), The Urban Voodoo Machine poke the eye of tragedy and tweak the nipples of adversity with a fully developed sense of fun that prevents the whole shebang falling into a pit of despondency.

Crucially, The Urban Voodoo Machine have successfully bottled the lightning bolt that is the celebratory joy of their live shows and transferred it within the grooves of the 13 songs contained herein, as singer Paul-Ronney Angel marshals his comrades to prove that the band are just as adept in the studio as they are on the stage.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.