Vuduvox, a French-Belgian duo released their debut album “Vaudou électrique” almost exactly a year ago today when it came to me. Although it is a debut release, the band members are all but newcomers to the industrial/EBM scene. J-C, in charge of singing and synths, is also the frontman of BUZZ, French minimal electro, while guitarist Oliver T. has a resume of playing electro-percussions with acts like Signal Aout 42 and GrandChaos.
Their combined effort resulted in an old school industrial album with strong EBM notes that sounds like a strange mixture of The Young Gods, Excessive Force (slightly different KMFDM-like project by Sascha Konietzko), Birmingham 6 and even with some bits sounding like Fortification 55.
Vaudou électrique, in total, is an exceptional album with strong and danceable baselines, pushing drums that is perfect both for dark strobed dancefloors and listening in a chair. The synths are beautifully layered on top of rhythm section and in combination with non-intrusive and atmospheric guitar sounds make the perfect bed for nicely reverbed, almost whispered vocals. Along with good voice samples and the usage of clap and agogo percussions, the end result is a bit nostalgic, but on the other hand, more contemporary than retro. The end result oozes with atmosphere and rolls forward almost like a sound avalanche that can hardly leave you indifferent.
The album opens with “Sérénade Pour Renégat” and “Berlin”, two songs setting a perfect tempo for things to come. Loads of tempo and power with frantic synths and a slightly monotone voice, which, as it seems a winning combination to get your blood pumping.
After the grand opening, “Kamikazes” doesn’t sound as fast and powerful, since it lacks firm bassline of its predecessors, but still manages to deliver a good result, although leaving some feelings of wanting more.
“L’usine” is quick to bring the album back on track of the first 2 songs, with danceable and firm sounds making a perfect intro for the 3 songs that follow: “Silex”, “Kennedy” and “Fascination” are peaks of this album. A trio of masterfully executed songs, with “Silex” and “Fascination” being proper old school dance anthems that should be a mandatory part of any industrial / EBM dancefloor. “Kennedy” between those two, on the other hand, is a haunting and chaotic sound scape built on top of TV or radio simulcast of Kennedy’s assassination and really delivers very unique listening experience from start to finish. Definitely my favourite on the album.
“Bruit Blanc” brings the pace down a notch and in a way, has similar observations like “Kamikazes”, although much less pronounced, but at this point I’m already spoiled enough.
“Ils Descendront Du Train” picks up again and sets ground for the remainder of the album, where although all the songs are great, I’d single out another trio: “So Kalt”, “Charogne” and “Disco-Démolition”, again, 3 hellishly danceable songs with contagious rhythm in a row, especially “Disco-Démolition” with real dancefloor hit capacity and great “Disco Sucks!” sampled intro.
“Au Rythme Des Incendies” is another great dance song, followed by “Avec Toi”, by my understanding, the album’s romantic song that does have a “passionate” feel to it, even in the way it is sung.
The album is closed with “Vu-Du-Vox (Part 1 & 2)”, a slow building song that begins with two minutes of slowly building noise before the drum and bass kicks in and rhythmically brings the album towards the end.
Along with 15 songs, the album also contains 12 short Vudubreaks scattered between them, ranging from a little more than 10 seconds up to almost 30 seconds, giving the entire album listening experience a bit more of a texture and character.
All in all, I’ve spent 5 days with this album up until now and most probably will spend a lot more time in days to come. It is an excellent album that has the “labour of love” feel to it, without any noticeable weak spots and with lots of advantages going for it.
Best new material I’ve heard in quite a while. Highly recommended.