These two guys come from my hometown, Rostock, Ringo, the drummer, used to be in a very doom-y instrumental band called Grisu which is a kick-ass name for any doom-y band because there was this kid’s cartoon about a dragon called Grisu who wanted to become a fireman. Grade A Rock’n Roll.
The Hoodoo Two do some fine Blues with a heavy layer of sugary Rockabilly sprinkled on top. Tobias, the man on the guitar and on the mic brings the raging 50s into the vocals which turn most of the Blues numbers into feisty little songs to shake your tail feathers to. Seriously, if you ever have the chance to see them live, bring your petticoats and dancing shoes.
There’s a lot of grit in their debut album which is great because most Bluesrock-Duos* tend to be – albeit great – very clean in their sounds, however, The Hoodoo Two (or THT if you like which immediately conjures up AC/DC in my head) are not afraid to trudge their sounds through the titular mud, let some pained, world-weary guitar scream into the night and therefore create some songs that are more rooted in the Blues than in the Rock-part of their genre-mix. And that is a delight, it’s very easy to start with the idea of Blues and then get carried into the crowd-pleasing Rockabilly but Tobias and Ringo actually manage to balance those two out beautifully which adds some depth to the sound. Speaking of depth – man, do these guys know how to celebrate their genre. It’s clear that they are home in their respective music styles and they pay homage, sweet sweet homage to them. It’s a lot of fun because it feels a little like Tarantino’s references to the vast world of weird cinema – it shows respect, passion and a lot of cheeky humor.
The song “Crossbones” is a nice example for that, because it turns into a very Stonerrock race to the finish line that leaves the listener breathless and a little disoriented.
Oh, and there is a lot of humor to be found, despite the fact that most of their songs are thematically linked to death. I guess that comes with the Rockabilly, them grease-haired ne’er do wells are a cynical bunch and therefore treat everything with a sneer, a spit and a dose of humor.
I gotta admit, I was a little scared listening to their debut, I already knew that they were pretty good but production-values can make or break a good sound and I was pleasantly surprised how well “It all boils down to the mud” fares. It’s very simple and raw but never sounds cheap and has a nice little treasure chest of details that show that these guys didn’t just chuck out a record but actually worked on a well-rounded piece of music. The whole rhythm-section shows that, go ahead and count the ways they came up with to mix the drums with other things to let that backbone of Rock (aka rhythm) sound juicy. For a duo*, they really make a hell of a full sound. As full as a big bellied momma after a pie contest…
My favourite song of theirs is actually one of the Blues-centered pieces, I gotta say, the lyrics are simple but brilliant, “Swallow my Ashes” also features a great stomp-clap choir to give us a little southern Spirituality. Oh Brother, y’all see the light in the hands of the Lord and he says ‘hallelujah’!
They’re going to release their album on February 23rd, check their Facebook to see when and what’s going down and congratulate them on being great, awesome and not ‘hey, let’s sound like The Black Keys’-like. Seriously, you can fill a whole football-field with those.
*Their press text actually says that they are not a duo but a two-men-band. I say: Nice try dudes, but don’t fuck with semantics.