Black Grape: Pop Voodoo (UMe) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Black Grape

Pop Voodoo


Sep 05, 2017 Black Grape Bookmark and Share

Just when you think Shaun Ryder, he of Happy Mondays and Black Grape fame, has finally retreated into permanent music retirement, he audaciously turns up with new material. Twenty years since the last offering from Black Grapearguably a more musically realized project than the Mondayscomes the Youth-produced Pop Voodoo. Don’t let the predictable political rant that kicks off the album in “Everything You Know Is Wrong” put you off. What sounds like a drunken bluster near closing time at the pubpunctuated by the sound of a dial-up modem, oh dearis not indicative of the rest of Pop Voodoo, which is, shockingly, pretty damn great.

Clichéd song refrains aside, the musical part of Pop Voodoo is strong. Fluid grooves and flirty funk interludes lace the Motown vibes and big band elements while baggy beats take dips into jazz and lounge territory. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s excellent “Summertime” is recalled in the alluring and timeless whistles of “Money Burns.” The title track is dictated by well paced, rolling rhythms that shift into horns blasts that nudge the handclap-laced “Whiskey Wine and Ham.” The sophisticated and subtleneither of which are Ryder’s strong suits“Sugar Money” is held in check by slick doo-wop style backing vocals.

Youth, or perhaps mix engineer Michael Rendall, should be credited with how well the superb compositions on Pop Voodoo flow, due, in large part, to Ryder’s vocal contributions being wisely kept toward the bottom of the sonic components. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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