The Upshot: Witchy vocals and thundering instrumentation conjures up some of that ol’ New Orleans black magic.
BY FRED MILLS
Oh hell yeah. Voodoo chillun Dinola, a smouldering 1-gal/3-guy combo from New Orleans who could make the paint peel in your penthouse just by tuning up, debuted digitally last fall with this six-songer, and Up High now gets a full physical rollout via badass Lone Star label Saustex. And whether you prefer a heavy-vinyl 45rpm 12” (my choice, as always) or the ever-convenient compact laser disc format, it’s a guaranteed neighbors-across-the-duplex-aggravation machine. It was overseen in the studio by Dave Catching way out at the same Joshua Tree studio where Queens of the Stone Age previously wreaked havoc, so you know that’s a TMOQ right from the get-go.
Sultry vocalist Sue Ford is the center-stage draw, as one might imagine, a cross between punk icons Siouxsie and Chrissie Hynde as well as such latterday minxes as Kathleen Hanna, Corin Tucker, and Courtney Love. (My new fantasy: an American Idol- or The Voice-style singoff between Ford and Gwen Stefani. The hollaback girl, inexplicably touted as a fired-up and punk rock by a lot of folks who should know better, wouldn’t stand a chance.) But her bandmates—guitarist Eric Laws, bassist Edward Payne, drummer Jimmy Ford—are bruisers in their own right, with the band’s beaker chemistry boiling over particularly well on tracks like the thundering riffage of “Apocalipstick” (check Laws’ dissonant fretboard swipes alongside Sue’s speak-singing swagger) and its somewhat more “tuneful” (term used relatively) radio-friendly title track counterpart.
And a cover of Screamin’ Jay’s “I Put a Spell on You” achieves the near-impossible: Into Dinola’s hands, a musical torch is hereby passed, the band appropriating and reinventing the oft-covered classic for its own malevolent purposes. Here, Sue is nothing if not witchy—a new voodoo queen for the Now Generation. Can I get an “oh hell yeah”?
DOWNLOAD: “I Put A Spell On You,” “Up High”