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ROINE STOLT Wall Street Voodoo Inside Out (2005)

Roine Stolt

Since the release of "The Flower King" back in 1994, and with 1998 being his only "silent" year, Roine Stolt has managed to remain ‘discographically’ active for the last eleven years! Was 2005 meant to be another exception to this rule? Luckily enough for us, the answer is no! With the amazing "Adam & Eve", The Flower Kings' latest release, being less than a year old, the great Swede knew that, if he was to release anything, it would have to be under the form of a solo effort. Following Tomas Bodin's example, and having already released ten new compositions under the Kaipa banner, Roine surprised us all by preparing another sixteen songs, all of which are featured in his latest double CD release "Wall Street Voodoo".

I am always pleased to see the members of The Flower Kings in constant search of new musical territories, but one needs to understand that sometimes artists feel the need to go back to their roots, and that is exactly what "Wall Street Voodoo" is all about. I am afraid that my lack of knowledge on the Beatles and their music deprived me from detecting such influences in these sixteen new compositions, but one has to be deaf not to hear Hendrix's mark in "The Observer", or Frank Zappa's trademark constant manipulation of rhythm, which is evident in the majority of the compositions, and especially in the eleven minute opus "People the Have the Power to Shape the Future". Links to the music from The Flower Kings can be found in songs like "Dirt", and also quite a few Spock's Beard elements in "Head Above Water", which features the participation of this band's ex singer, Neal Morse.

I really don't know what the criteria should be in order to rate such an album as this. Roine may not be the most impressive vocalist around, but he definitely sings with a memorable ‘Hughesque’ passion – regardless of whether it is progressive, country rock, or blues music. His guitar skills are quite admirable, and you will have plenty of chances to discover this on this album. Roine Stolt manages to become quite approachable musically, but at the same time he will keep you on your toes from start to finish, and that is the sign of a true artist. If you are looking for an album with a strong political message, that also "plays" with a variety of different emotions, then maybe "The Wallstreet Voodoo" is what you are looking for.


Review by John Stefanis

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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