Black Grape - Pop Voodoo album review
Electrofunk-rock reprobates grow old disgracefully
Like unruly gatecrashers, Black Grape spiced up the Britpop party by gleefully trampling over polite sensibilities. Twenty years on, and with Shaun Ryder fully rehabilitated as a cuddly reality TV star, their return finds them revisiting former glories.
Uber-producer Youth adds a sleaze-funk swagger to a valedictory Nine Lives, while standouts Losing Sleep and Money Burns could almost be outtakes from the Mondays’ commercial peak Pills ’n’ Thrills And Bellyaches.
Lyrically, Ryder remains in a league of his own. ‘Hillary’s an old bird who fucked up on the computer,’ he muses in Trump-baiting opener Everything You Know Is Wrong, while a brooding final Young And Dumb captures an ageing raver’s dark night of the soul, Ryder sighing: ‘Slow down so you don’t quit.’
The slapdash feel – the album was written and recorded in a month – backfires only when they go off-piste, notably on the brass-laden skank of the title track.
Considering their, erm, lifestyle choices, it’s a miracle Ryder and partner in crime Kermit are both still here, and their incorrigible appeal is summed up by the debauched String Theory, which contains the immortal line: ‘You put your joint out on my cock.’
Hey, we’ve all been there.