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Roine Stolt - Wall Street Voodoo CD (album) cover

WALL STREET VOODOO

Roine Stolt

 

Symphonic Prog

3.57 | 140 ratings

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Squire Jaco
4 stars I get the feeling that this album had been germinating in Mr. Stolt's mind for many years.

Over the years, we Flower Kings fans have easily recognized his early prog influences such as Yes, Genesis, Crimson and ELP (among others), and his Gibson Les Paul guitar styling has frequently had a very Steve Howe-ish sound. But just as Howe was deeply influenced by some seemingly unlikely suspects like Chet Atkins and Bob Dylan, Stolt bares his soul (no pun intended) on Wall Street Voodoo with nods to some of the early blues-based guitar masters of the late 60's.

For me, this album answers a lot of questions about why Stolt has used certain effects, riffs or political lyrics in recent TFK outings where I thought they sounded a bit awkward or out of sync with the rest of a particular song or album concept. (I'm thinking of the rockier "Don't Let The Devil In", "Monkey Business", "Adam and Eve" and "Genie in a Bottle"; or the more political "Thru the Walls", "Devil's Playground" and "Slave to Money"). In the past, I always attributed it to the quirkier Zappa side of Stolt; but now I suspect it was just Stolt trying to let these important root yearnings of his out to see a little light of day. Even the name of the group and many of their album covers have evoked the "flower power" era of rock 'n' roll.

There's a lot of great music here folks, with inventive guitar solos galore. Just as some blues and classic rock sounds tend to creep into the occasional TFK composition, Stolt has a little trouble keeping some prog from peering around the edges of this latest album of rhythm and blues (and that's just fine with me!). And I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that part of the reason that you can't totally escape the TFK sound here is because along with Stolt and then-TFK drummer Marcus Liliequist, you have bassist Jonas Reingold(?) masquerading as "Victor Woof", and keyboardist Tomas Bodin(?) as "Slim Pothead" - am I right, Roine?

The first disc starts off with four really good tunes - cool lyrics, catchy refrains, and lots of layered guitar. I love the slide guitar (a la Duane Allman and George Harrison) that shows up in many of the songs. The middle few songs on this disc get a little repetitive for me, and can get pretty angry-sounding. But the disc finishes nicely with a Joni Mitchell cover ("Sex Kills") and "Outcast".

He does more voice effects on the second disc, and quite honestly, I've just never been a big fan of that. So while I absolutely LOVE "Remember", "Hotrod" and "People That Have the Power...", I don't care for portions of "The Unwanted" (great instrumental section, though), the Lou Reed-ish/near-rap of "It's all about Money", or the sittin'-on-my-front-porch-strummin'-my-guitar "Mercy" (mercifully short in duration).

So, as with many TFK albums, one is left with an album that's filled about 85% with just awesome, creative music - dare I say, the best being made today (even when it's not prog!). But then you have to endure the less-than-optimal quirkier stuff that the artist feels compelled to do, but may not quite jibe with your interests. Thus my 4-star rating.

If you are an exclusive prog rock listener, you should probably pass this album up. But if you are an overall rock music lover, or if you have an open mind to music, and especially if you are a fan of Swedish guitar-god and hippie-wannabe Roine Stolt, this album is INDISPENSABLE in understanding and enjoying more of this man's great music. It's far out, man.

Squire Jaco | 4/5 |

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