Friday, May 28, 2010

Mojo Juju et al

Mojo Juju and the Snake Oil Merchants
Sellin’ You Salvation

Hoodoo Emporium/MGM

This is a beautiful package. From Joe Vegas’ gorgeous artwork and digipak casing, to the ink selection and cracking cabaret country blues punk stylings, this album pretty much has it all. From the throaty openings of Catch Afire—‘I spent my last upon a tumbler of whiskey/A gin martini for a girl named Misty/She danced the cooch while I was smokin’ the hooch/And the devil stole my soul upon the moment she kissed me’—Mojo Juju’s voice steers a swingin ship through shaky waters. Her vocals boom, they tease, they chastise, but ultimately seduce the listener into a world of carnival misfits, ghosts and demons—all washed down with a bolt of whiskey and cheap cigars.
It’s the darkness and light that floats this boat so surely. As in their live act, the album fluctuates in tempo and mood dramatically from number to number—it’s unpredictable, it’s perilous. At any given moment, though bearings may seem clear, you can be thrown off on tangents that become no more predictable on repeated listening. These days it’s difficult enough to lure the listener in for a few songs or a side, this is and all or nothing deal—it must be consumed as a whole, it’s a journey and a very pleasurable one at that.
The creepy, contorted God and the Devil opens up the second side mischievously and leads nicely into the rollicker This Is My Home. Dance With You has to be the sexiest number on the record with pared back piano and Juju’s gravy rich vocals. A bit of banjo and horn blues with Sacred Heart of Mary caps off a great listen with refrain. At ten songs, you could feel a little short changed. The quality of this recording speaks for itself, however, and there is no doubt you’ll get value from spinning this one over many years to come.

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