THE HOODOO TONES - THREE STEPS TO EVIL
The Hoodoo Tones - ‘Three Steps to Evil’
Reviewed by Kate, 23rd August 2022
The Hoodoo Tones are:
Kev Bll (Guitar /Vocals)
Ben D Driver (Bass)
Michael Flq (drums)
The bad news first: the Hoodoo Tones have only ever played one show in the UK, at last year’s Rockabilly Rave, so brits like me have yet to enjoy the French trio’s confident, atmospheric, surf-influenced rockabilly. However, the good news that they’re about to drop this interesting, moody fourth record means they’re sure to be touring again soon! These hardworking festival regulars make sweet vintage sounds all over France and are definitely ones to watch as their audiences get larger.
Let’s take these tracks step by step:
‘Drag!’: a surfy, vintage instrumental with just the right balance of distortion and twang to soundtrack a night trip down a long and lonesome desert road.
‘I need a confessor’ (Boom Boom Boom): Kev has made the decision to sing in English, and there’s something about his noticeable accent which adds a touch of charm to most of the songs on this album. Imagine Tim Worman meets Pelle Almqvist and you’re getting close to Kev’s singing! The band has this easy, light control of their sound with the guitar dancing over the rhythm and the result is as catchy as it gets.
‘Grey Skies’: claps and country vibes, combined with a stronger bass, give this melancholy tune an optimistic boost. “Don’t let the grey of the sky ruin your day, don’t let the time of your life slip away” croons Kev and you can’t help but tap a foot to the baseline.
‘Jitterbuggin’: a rockin’ party number about dancing with your friends, and the snare/cymbal on the drums cuts through the smooth guitar to give a theoretically lightweight song more of an edge.
‘The Fool’:..and now for something a bit harder with a song that dips more than a toe into garage rock without losing the now-distinctive Hoodoo Tones sound. ‘The Fool’ is a lot faster and gutsier than the rest of the record, and we get a sense that ‘Three Steps to Evil’ is building to some kind of crescendo.
‘Too Wide Ocean’: The whole song showcases Kev’s voice with this pleasant, consistent bass underpinning this tale of love separated by geography. He brings in this Nick 13-like sincerity to the song, and this number will get the hopeless romantics in the audience swooning.
‘Behind the Leather’: I was anticipating a car song from the title, but it’s a jaunty story of a close friendship separated by the boundaries of rock and roll. There are echoes of ‘Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard’ in this upbeat track.
‘Coolest Cat’: Time for a little bit of country, and with tongue firmly in cheek the lyrics discuss which band member is the most attractive. The rhythm section really makes this fun song motor along, and I’m dying for this to be a single release!
‘The Way it is’: Just when we’ve placed their sound, the Hoodoo Tones come out with this song, which is so Doors influenced that I’m starting to wonder if ‘Light my Fire’ is their alarm clock ringtone! There’s this great sixty repeating beat and a rootsy drum solo in the middle, because why not? A really cool song that cones out of nowhere and drags you back in time with it.
‘The Last of Our Kind’: I was intrigued by what the Hoodoo Tones would leave us with, and I would not have guessed a Johnny Cash meets Frank Turner lament that turns into a badass country song a minute in. It’s tough, it’s outlaw, it’s heartfelt, and it’s my favorite song on the album.
If you want strong vocals, hip-swinging rhythm, playful guitar and interesting lyrics, then Hoodoo Tones are the band you need to check out. I’m honestly a little surprised that they are not more well-known, but I suspect (and hope) they’ll be a much more recognisable name on rockabilly bills after this album!