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CD: Black Grape - Pop Voodoo | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Black Grape - Pop Voodoo

CD: Black Grape - Pop Voodoo

Shaun Ryder and Kermit unexpectedly bounce back after 20 years

Are Shaun and Kermit the Freak Brothers of the baggy beat?

It’s a rather shocking 20 years since the somewhat unfairly maligned second Black Grape album Stupid Stupid Stupid was released, after which the band went into freefall before imploding. To celebrate this anniversary, or more likely because it might raise them a few quid, Shaun Ryder and Kermit have left the rest of the band out in the cold and wandered into the studio with über-producer Youth for an album that, while it doesn’t hit the heights of the best of Black Grape’s output from the ‘90s, is considerably better than might be expected.

Laidback, sunny and funky tunes marinated in a fug of weed smoke are the order of the day, with Shaun and Kermit still coming on like the Freak Brothers of the baggy beat. It may all feel a bit loose at times but Pop Voodoo is nothing but groovy vibes throughout, even if it does sometimes lack the heft of a proper backing band. “Everything You Know Is Wrong – Intro” kicks things off with Ryder’s funky stream-of-consciousness take on last year’s US elections and the whole Trump circus, but after this brief intrusion by the White House clown it’s party time. In particular, “Nine Lives” and “Sugar Money” light things up with brassy stabs and a bit of a funky swagger. “Money Burns” is more relaxed, and “Whiskey, Wine and Ham” could almost be a roguish-old-geezer slant on DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime”. Pop Voodoo is smiley grooves all the way and who knows – if it gets some radio play, people might even start remembering what Shaun Ryder used to do before he became a National Treasure.

Pop Voodoo may be neither deep nor clever, but fire up the BBQ and crack open some beers, because an unlikely soundtrack for summer 2017 is here.

Laidback, sunny and funky tunes marinated in a fug of weed smoke are the order of the day


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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