Stoneage Romeos – Hoodoo Gurus

2005 – EMI


NOTE: I am reviewing the 2005 reissue of Stoneage Romeos which consists of the original 1984 album released through Big Time Records and also the bonus tracks Leilani Pt.2, Be My Guru, and Hoodoo You Love (Live 1983).

The debut album from Australian rockers Hoodoo Gurus is a raucously fun romp through the b-grade tradition and surf cult culture intelligently informed by honed old school rock and roll. It starts out with in good rocking form with the pounding quasi-punk track (Let’s All) Turn On which outlines what the band are all about. The rhythmic chanting of the titles of well known songs followed by “that’s what I like” really just sets up this record for what it is, and that, dear readers, is a whole lot of fun.

I Want You Back, the second track on the album, moves into a more serious tone with its story of love and loss, but its naivety and forceful nostalgia ground it all in a welcome flippancy. Even the eulogy of Arthur has enough fun and frivolity in it that one can’t but smile and sing along. Really, for me, Stoneage Romeos reaches the heights of the kind of fun that can be had with rock music; it has boy next door charm laced with a sense of danger and immaculately constructed music mixed with the adorable tackiness of fifties monster movies – what more could you want?

Dig It Up is, perhaps, one of the best examples of this mindset of silliness with its hammy lyrics about digging up a dead girlfriend and its throbbingly sleazy guitar lines which are somewhat reminiscent of Cramps style psychobilly. But somehow Hoodoo Gurus manage to not let this ostensible nonsense slip into the same realm of joke that The Cramps so often revel in.     
Zanzibar and My Girl, however, show that the group has a side apart from the humorous macabre. These tracks, among other, really exhibit Dave Faulkner’s (lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter) ability in crafting music. They are tender and heartfelt with a deep understanding of the power of simplicity in music, and they stand out among the other tracks not as ill-fitting, but rather as an invitation to treat the band with a bit more respect than you may have otherwise.

The bonus tracks too are well worth a listen and if you have an original copy of the record I would still recommend going out to get the reissue just for these three additions. Leilani Pt.2 is wonderful follow up to Leilani and adds just that little bit more to an already amazing track, and Hoodoo You Love and Be My Guru fit perfectly at the end of the album (not to mention the chuckle I had at the puns).

So, to sum up I would say that Stoneage Romeos is truly a brilliant album. Every track is a hit and nothing is in the least forgettable. Really, start to finish I just enjoyed myself while listening to this record, and I think it few bands would be able to approach the amount of fun that is to be had with this piece of work. I would highly recommend rushing out to your local record store right now and demanding that this be sold to you immediately.

RATING: *****/5

One of the many many brilliant tracks off Stoneage Romeos.
Also Dave Faulkner’s hair is amazing.


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