Hoodoo Gurus and Persian Rugs

The Hoodoo Gurus were a garage-rocking Australian band who gained a cult following in the '80's but never achieved widespread mainstream success, at least not in America. Of the seven studio albums the band released between 1984 and 1996, only the two albums released on Elektra -- Mars Needs Guitars (1985) and Blow Your Cool (1987) -- are currently available in the U.S. Both of them (especially the former) are worthwhile. Also, their 1989 album Magnum Cum Louder is worth searching out. Their combination of humor and hooks was almost always entertaining.

The Gurus were declared defunct in 1998, but three-fourths of them (singer/guitarist Dave Faulkner, guitarist Brad Shepherd, and drummer Mark Kingsmill) reunited in 2002, and with bassist James Kendall formed the Persian Rugs. This band first released a five-song EP in Australia called Mr. Tripper in 2002. It sounds as though the Gurus had been listening to Rhino's Nuggets box set, because this EP consisted of '60's garage psychedelia on the order of the Seeds and Iron Butterfly, complete with organs, fuzz amps, and the trademark Gurus humor. The song "Goin' Out In Style" offered six minutes of unapologetic in-a-gadda-da-vidism. But that EP was just a warmup for the full-length Turkish Delight, a raucous 37-minute, 13-track set of uninhibited garage rock lunacy released in 2003. Both of these items are available as Australian imports, and are highly recommended.

Also, a new Hoodoo Gurus album appeared in 2004. Rick Grossman, who was bass player for the Gurus from 1989 onward, reunited with his three ex-bandmates for the album Mach Schau. It finds them in top form, playing their usual brand of garage power-pop, with more hard-rock energy than most of their other albums had. It's great to hear a band come back this strong. There are two slightly different versions of this album available as imports: one from Australia on EMI/Capitol Records and another from the UK label Evangeline. I have the latter, and I highly recommend it as well.