CD Review: Hoodoo Gurus “Purity of Essence”

I’ve been a big fan of Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus ever since they released “Stoneage Romeos” in 1984. While the Gurus were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2007, they never got the recognition they deserved in the US. Throughout the 80s, they’ve released some phenomenal records, “Blow Your Cool” being my favorite. They stayed strong in the 90s, especially with “Crank”. “Mach Schau” was a treat for fans in 2004, but we’ve been waiting 6 long years for the ninth record, “Purity of Essence”.

“Purity of Essence” finds the Gurus in fine form – still rocking with melodic vocal hooks and sweet guitar licks after all these years – and the distinctive vocals of lead singer Dave Faulkner sound just as good as they did in 1984. The boys waste no time grabbing your attention with a trademark rocker, “Crackin’ Up”. The party continues with the powerpop gem, “A Few Home Truths”, then ventures into ballad territory with “Are You Sleeping?” The best ballad the Gurus have done is “I Was The One” from “Blow Your Cool”, but “Are You Sleeping?” is a close second – beautiful song. But in case you did fall asleep, you’ll be jolted out of your slumber with the energetic and brassy “Burnt Orange”. The soul-inspired and wonderfully catchy “I Hope You’re Happy” and the haunting “Ashamed of Me” round out the better half of the record. We’ve waited six years, so the band gives us 16 tracks – an over an hour of new music…but honestly I could have done without the final third of the CD. The bottom end of the record is good, but the songs aren’t as instantly memorable, with exception of “1968”.

“Purity of Essence” shows that a band going on 30 years of age still has all the energy of their younger counterparts…and plenty to say in new songs to grace the musical landscape. Yet another jewel in the Gurus’ crown.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 15

Hoodoo Gurus on MySpace. Official site.