Following many years of thrilling audiences with their renditions of classic masterpieces, Voodoo Room now boldly present their very first home-penned album, 'Tension City Blues'. The amalgamation of Hendrix and Clapton's song titles, these of course being Jimi's 'Voodoo Child' and 'Eric's White Room', to form their band name, is reflected in their music which celebrates the genre of these two masters. Although this style of music is still revered in 'Tension City Blues' Voodoo Room, the composition and delivery of their new recordings marks the band's song writing skills and individual sound and identity.
Guitarist Peter Orr, a virtuoso on his Gibson SG or Fender Stratocaster, has been thrilling audiences throughout the UK and Europe for nearly three decades by introducing new life into classics and blowing us away with his blindsiding guitar and vocal renditions of worthy historical greats. John Tonks on drums is a leading session musician with recording credits inclusive of Thunder, Steve Winwood and The Streets amongst other bands who have enjoyed and shared his superlative skills. Strongly completing this trio is Andy Tolman on bass, a guitarist, composer and producer with 20 years of experience in the London music scene, who has worked with Anastacia, Ben E King and Jo Harman, to name but a few, naturally bringing this vast experience fluently to his delivery.
Blues music was originally created by African Americans in the early 20th century and is regularly referred to as the devil's music with its singers expressing feelings rather than just telling stories. Voodoo Room does just this with 'Tension City Blues', culminating age old Blues prophecies with just enough riffs to carry you off, without losing you to inconsistency or musical complication. Writing with the ease of a band crafting for many years, the accomplished first original release from this band is a true pleasure, with easily understood vocals necessary for fully appreciating this style of music, as Blues is all about the telling of the story.
'Tension City Blues' is a recording of twelve tracks and you are introduced to these through the first track, 'Cold Love', which features great guitar riffs and takes you on a jumping ride as "different minds become entwined". This song explores how "opposites attract" and tells us of how a tumultuous love can easily snatch us up and carry us away in the cold river of life. This is followed by 'Shock', telling the age old tale of a cool kid with no father, no respect and a bad reputation, the rhythm of which brought to mind the Cream classic 'Strange Brew' and includes some excellent screaming guitar. 'No Problem' gives out a real captivating attitude beat, leading into "life's a bitch when you can scratch that itch but you can do it", featuring real grinding Bluesy guitar and lyrics, giving out the faith in that you can achieve most things you set your mind to in life.
'Headstrong', I found is quite a filler and not particularly striking with nothing in the song to making it identifiable in itself, although it is still pleasant enough and carries you along nicely "moving on in one direction". 'In The Net' starts with yet another deep, skilled guitar introduction and lyrically centres in on how easy it is in life to find yourself living a standard, no risk, existence rather than living life to the full with the song encouraging you to inhale your righteousness as an individual. A foot tapping and enjoyable track, but more commercial and mainstream, rather than being impressive on a Blues scale. 'Playing With Fire' has a solid guitar introduction, then warns through verse of the temptation of playing with the female form, with Peter Orr's skills throughout, reflecting the tumultuous feeling of being in such a place.
'Piece by Piece' is a well beated, catchy track that encapsulates you with bending Blues guitar and well timed changes in pace and emotion, whilst asking the age-old question of whether it's better to cruise through life at speed or take it one step at a time. This track stands out with it's rocking catchy rhythm reminiscent of that classic Norman Greenbaum track 'Spirit In The Sky'. An enjoyable distraction with all band members showing their skills, 'Double 6' is an instrumental song that straightens your back, carries you along and takes you on a refreshing musical journey of delight where you can feel the pleasure of the play. The title track shows excellently co-ordinated instruments, putting forward the life lesson of not letting yourself get pulled down and encouraging you instead to "rise above it all". This song shows it's success by singing of the city tension Blues, telling us to get wise to the busy street angsts and draws you in with it's lengthy guitar showpieces that touch deep inside you. 'Electric Blue' is an upbeat, inclusive rocking track, celebrating the feeling of freedom and having no or little constraints in life and this is presented musically through a well paced, foot-tapping and tight track.
'Why Do You Keep Me Guessing' again launches with a great Bluesy introduction, delivering a song that floats over a relationship which starts good, but then through uncertainties, gets left behind. The final song on this album, 'Share The Blues', is a fitting conclusion, an exquisitely played smoking Blues number, with a melancholic ballad pace incorporating an acoustic and organ flourish with striking guitar.
Musically, throughout this album, is concise and fluent in delivery and this is reflected in the confidence with which it is delivered and it is especially refreshing to find a band with original skills and flexibility who can stand tall on the Blues music mantle. Voodoo Room perform the engaging characteristics of the Blues.