Picks and Pans Review: Wall of Voodoo

updated 06/15/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/15/1981 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Wall of Voodoo

When this Los Angeles band sings about automation, it isn't just dabbling in alienation. The fivesome has a silicone heart, an electronic rhythm machine that pumps out robot maraca shakes, tinny snare taps and hollow bass beats. The gadget has the kind of vinyl soul Bill Murray used to lampoon on Saturday Night Live. Amplified to monolithic prominence, however, and surrounded by choppy guitar accents and the demonic swoops of electronic keyboards, the machine (lovingly nicknamed "Ace" by the band) becomes a likable if brainless monster. True, when set to the twangy tune of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire, the effect is disconcerting; one begins to wonder what a Cash Sings the Moog Synthesizer Songbook would sound like. Yet the best parts of this four-song debut LP are dense and gripping. Listening to Voodoo is magical indeed.

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