California Street Music

Voodoo Glow Skulls

Victory, 2007

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Voodoo Glow Skulls continue to play catchy and energetic music, a combination of ska/punk that fuses guitar with a sax and trombone section that turns out to be more than a novelty.

California Street Music is another satisfying release from the band, save for a couple opening tracks that are simply false starts. While not necessarily filler, "Exorcism" and "Fire in the Dancehall" sound like obligatory ska tunes that don't offer anything we haven't heard before. If the purpose of these two tracks were to reduce the listener's expectations, they succeeded, but this release gets better as it progresses. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It is when the band arrives at the ripping guitar solo in "The Ballad of Froggy McNasty" that the true character comes through. Guitarist Eddie Casillas uses the overall slightly slower groove of "McNasty" to let loose. The horn section takes center stage on this track as well; drummer Jerry O'Neil and bassist Jorge Casillas provides a funky underlayer on the song.

In the vocals department, we have Frank Casillas, who is mixed loud and ergo made the focal point of the band. Gratefully, he is appealing to the ears and constructs street-smart tales. In "When the World Stops Turning," Casillas asks "What are you going to do when the sun stops shining?" Coupled with anthems about street life -- notably in the title track,  where Casillas cites that the genre "pollutes the air I breathe and I let it define me "-- he is a thoughtful writer.

What is interesting about this release is the band saves its strongest tracks for the end. Both "California Street Music" and "Death Wish List" are the most appealing tunes, the latter toggling between a frantic upbeat pace and a slightly slower panic. The lyrics are scathing as Casillas is even more serious in this track than before, describing his subject by saying "If she has a death wish list / you'd be the one that she wants dead."

At just over 30 minutes, Voodoo Glow Skulls have constructed yet another slab of ska-punk that oozes with scorching instrumentals and quite good lyrics/vocals. While not essential, anyone who likes ska will enjoy this.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Victory, and is used for informational purposes only.