The Mccurdy Brothers - Voodoo Rooster
Released 12th May 2023 Reviewed by Kate 24th July 2023 Buy the album here: https://www.themccurdybrothers.com/prod.../voodoo-rooster-cd
The McCurdy Brothers are:
Jerry McCurdy - Vocals and guitar Adam McCurdy - Drums and vocals
The swampabilly blues buskers are back! Fresh off their European tour, the duo have been dragging us down into their hillbilly take on the blues for four years with no signs of slowing down. Influenced by ‘Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, BB King and Muddy Waters’ and creating their own instruments from whatever they can salvage, they’re a ‘formidable rockabilly blues machine’ with another absolutely stomping release.
If It Weren’t For The Blues, I’d Be A Rich Man - there’s a boost in confidence in their own sound from the get go in this tale of how the Blues can drag you down. The thing that’ll strike you about this album, as well as most other McCurdy releases, is how they create such a rich, full atmosphere from comparatively little. Spreading the harmonica thickly on top like jam is a power move to open this album.
No - I’m a huge fan of the punky intro, sassy attitude and the Big Boy Bloater bluesy guitar flairs in this track driven by Jerry’s vocals and a desire to tell your ex to shove it. The point at which the guitar lets loose must be the moment when the audience’s ears metaphorically catch fire.
Voodoo Rooster - We can’t escape the farm with these hillbilly influences fellas, except this poultry’s dead and has a classic delta blues powering his prowl. It could easily have turned into a novelty or tongue in cheek number, but you find yourself rooting for the rooster thanks to the twists and turns of the rhythm.
Put A Spell On You - The McCurdy Brothers have a strong track record for covers (see their version of Nathaniel Rateliffe’s ‘SOB’), and this take on the classic is more spooky and voodoo-scented than even the explicitly witch-themed rendition from ‘Hocus Pocus’. There’s a slow-burning ember of desperation in Jerry’s growl which adds an extra dimension to this number.
Gospel According to No One - A quiet chain-gang harmony in the background gives a hypnotic quality to this anthem to doing it your own way, and the distortion only adds to the vintage feel.
Dahmer’s Fridge - The duo have never shied away from the gory (come on, they’re named after an unfortunate hobo whose corpse was accidentally used as a fairground prop), and what do you expect to find in Netflix subject Jeffrey’s fridge? It’s not salad. The relish on the line ‘rotting meat’ and tuning on the guitar to give a chainsaw brutality makes this a full blooded blues epic.
I Don’t Care - Keeping it uptempo after the last number, the theme of walking your own line, no matter what others think, continues. Adam’s clicking percussion like rattling finger bones adds a bit of threatening spice to an already blazing track.
That’s Alright - Not an Elvis cover but rather a slower song that borders on the broken-hearted. “Every night I wonder who’s lovin’ you tonight,” wails Jerry in a desolate track that deserves an added brass section.
Pay The Man - The cost of living crisis has hit the McCurdy Brothers and they aren’t happy about it in this punchy, pleasingly list-based motor track. It must have been incredibly fun to let their frustration out in the most angry track on the record.
White Room - it’s somewhat outside the McCurdy brand to cover Cream, but there’s a delicious smoothness in this cover that starts with a minimal charm then erupts into full throated joy. It’s not explicitly bluesy (then again, everything Clapton’s written is somewhat bluesy) but it’s glorious to see their range and how far they can push themselves.
‘Voodoo Rooster’ is a confident stand and arguably McCurdy Brothers’ strongest album to date. They’ve taken a step away from their swampabilly roots into full blown bluesman territory without sacrificing that outsider edge that made them cult favourites, and it’s absolutely a sign of even better things to come in the future.