The Hoodoo Gurus were pretty trashy sounding, but despite that, they did have some killer songs. Being an Aussie 1980s Rock band, they never received the critical acclaim or fan following like other contemporaries such as AC/DC. However, this should not stop people from rediscovering their music. This is a neat little compilation of their music. Let’s examine it, track by track.
We begin with Use-By Date – Remixed Version which is a strange and rather depressing song from the Hoodoo Gurus to begin with. It’s far from great from these guys, but is a loud and clanging and straightforward Rock song that is okay at best. Not really excellent from these guys, it could have been left off here. Some intense screaming is here at the end, but rather awful regardless. The outro is terrible. Easily the worst song on this compilation.
The compilation really begins here with Leilani and its pounding drum sound. Its guitar sound is awesome, very evocative of the Australian outback. It’s about a lady who died as a result of tribal sacrifice. A good song with some chanting throughout, it has a chugging rhythm to match. An interesting listen, even if it isn’t the greatest thing ever musically, even at the time. Some insane tribal style screaming is in this song as well, which is different. A weird and wacky song, with consequences included. A bit long though, could have been edited somewhat. The outro is pretty crazy.
Tojo is another Aussie story that would sound good in a car on a road trip. It’s a simple Pop/Rock song that is about said character who never made it to Darwin. A decent and energetic song delivered with passion, this is interesting listening, and an improvement on what came earlier. The musicality here is simple, but is nicely delivered here. Clean guitars and good musicality, this is decent, even if it is a bit dated today.
My Girl begins with some loose bass notes and keyboard, before going into a strange song of breakup, even though it is positive and infectious. Coldplay would snigger away at this sort of song. It is a simple tale of moving on from a lover who doesn’t care. Interesting sentiment, and a pretty good listen too. Great Pop/Rock that sounds simple and enjoyable.
Following is I Want You Back which is fairly straightforward in its message. A nice three minute long piece that sounds true to its meaning, this is quite a nice and enjoyable listen. The chorus in particular is very catchy, and is a fine listening experience. Some excellent lead guitar lines are here, which actually are reminiscent of George Harrison. An underrated song, and a highlight of this compilation so far.
Next is Bittersweet which is exactly that. It begins with some clean Fender style guitar parts, before launching into a deep and meaningful sort of song. It sounds very nicely constructed and is about breakup and the heartbreak that is involved. For very much everyone across the world, these sorts of sentiments are 100% understandable after breakup. The chanting backing vocals are really great, and the key change leading into the second half of the song is also really great, along with the female backing vocals at the end. Nice tune.
Like Wow – Wipeout! has such a memorable and awesome drum part to begin with that it has been imitated at Australian cricket matches. Seriously, how cool. The song itself is very good, and although is very old school, it is a really fine and uplifting piece about a girl that a guy is lusting over. An excellent and catchy piece with a very good rhythm about it. There is another key change here, but this song is pretty catchy anyway. The part leading up to the end is terrific, with an undeniably catchy groove. Killer.
Death Defying is a slow and move romantic based tune with some interesting musicality and good harmonies on it. This is simpler music from a different time that is really gentle. Some of the lyrics here are pretty heavy though, but it sounds so Poppy and happy you will think otherwise. Good song though, these guys come across as seemingly underrated musicians. A relaxing listen, “Now’s no time to hesitate,” indeed.
The biggest Hoodoo Guru hit is next with What’s My Scene with its electric/acoustic guitar intro, and has one questioning the social scene that one is in. A very catchy song that is listenable many times over, this is retro and catchy. Very iconic and catchy, this is different. Makes sense if you have ever questioned your own identity, interesting song. Really good listen.
After that is Good Times with its chugging piano and Pop melodicism. A good song about reuniting with a lover, very happy and Pop/Rock brilliance is here. These songs are very memorable and catchy upon hearing, and the music here is nicely created and constructed. A glorious sounding singalong piece, very wonderful to hear. The vocals towards the end are magical.
Come Anytime is next, with its acoustic and electric guitars that sound really great. The vocals sound a little swamped in the mix, and could have been placed somewhat higher in the mix instead. Still, it’s another straightforward Pop/Rock song that sounds really good to play in a backyard BBQ setting with family and/or friends. Perhaps not as good as some of the other songs before it, it seems less passionate as a result. Regardless a good, although not great, listen.
Axegrinder is next, with a pounding drum intro and AC/DC-ish guitar chords, this is an excellent song that sounds very hard rock. An excellent song that is rather lyrically random, yet catchy, this is a great and uplifting statement. Really rhythmically catchy, this is very, very good. Good song, and very suspenseful as well. Great guitar parts are at the end here too.
Next is the hippy throwback Miss Freelove ’69. It begins with a mock Indian music intro, before going into a nicely guitar driven song that is super catchy. It’s a wacky tale lyrically and sounds honestly hilarious. The chorus has some catchy backing vocals as well. Interesting story set to music, this is undeniably good. There are wah-wah guitar parts aplenty that are solid gold. A highly charged and cool song, very catchy and able to be heard multiple times, like most of the songs on this compilation. Good tune.
Following is 1000 Miles Away which is about the jetlag and heartbreak of traveling by plane constantly. It is a strange sort of song about being lost in transit. Very melancholy sounding and moody sounding, it is a good song with some good instrumentation as well. Interesting to hear, this is a different song that sounds rather emotionally messed up. The guitar sound at the end is pretty nice too.
Castles In The Air is next, being a great song to listen to. It has a semi-psychedelic feel to it, with heavily trippy guitar sounds throughout. Some interesting lyrics are here as well, along with some nice harmonies to boot. This is a nicely constructed song by the Hoodoo Gurus, although sounding very different from anything else these guys ever did. Decent listen, although more texture than substance here. Surreally good. The bongos add an interesting touch here as well.
The Right Time begins with a distorted guitar riff and kickstarts a rather weird song by the Hoodoo Gurus. The singing and song’s sound don’t really match that well here, which is somewhat disappointing. A good song, but not as good as the other songs on this compilation, it could have been bettered. Regardless, it’s okay, but only okay. Fairly ordinary. It drags on towards the end.
Next is Waking Up Tired is a fairly relatable song for those who hate Monday mornings. An interesting song about post weekend fatigue and catchy sounding, even if it is rather repetitive. Nice song, the Hoodoo Gurus are precision Pop/Rock musicians that are quite underrated. Interesting song.
After that is When You Get To California with its nicely guitar riff intro and progression. A good song about travels and the feeling one has when they move to a new place, although California is heavily mentioned here. A nice listening experience, complete with some matching horn sections to boot. Good tune and a little quirky, but good. Nice tune, awesome to hear about travel.
I Hope You’re Happy is next. It doesn’t sound anywhere near as good as it should be, and could have been vetoed right off this compilation. By this point, we are nearly at the end of this compilation, but still there is no excuse for poor musicianship. Not really the best song here, it sounds a lot like The Offspring actually. Which is…weird. Rather daft tune.
Crackin’ Up is the very last song here and also is not the best effort by the Hoodoo Gurus. Fortunately, it is passable, just not fantastic. Anyway, all good things must come to an end, as does this compilation. Could have been bettered. Disappointing to hear, showing the fragility of the Hoodoo Gurus artistry over the long term.
This compilation is a nice mixture of good, bad and trashy. It definitely is a mixed bag, but that seems to be what the Hoodoo Gurus were about. A good listen for those in Australia stuck in the 1980s, otherwise probably not that essential to hear.
Okay, but pretty meh.