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London’s bourbon-soaked gypsy blues, bop ‘n’stroll band The Urban Voodoo Machine are back with their fourth album Hellbound Hymns and aUK tour to match. Having played Glastonbury,Download, Latitude, Bestival and Hard Rock Calling, toured with The Pogues, the New York Dolls plus received love & support from Radio 2’s Paul Jones & Huey Morgan, 6 Music’s Gideon Coe & Chris Hawkins, the Guardian, Q Mag,Classic Rock and Vive Le Rock for their previous albums, Hellbound Hymns marks a new chapter
in the band’s story. It’s a mash-up of guitars, drums,upright bass, horns, violin,piano, accordion,bouzouki, Hammond organ and more, all topped up with the gravelly voice of Mr Paul-Ronney Angel telling tales from the darkside.
Produced by Paul-Ronney and The Late J-Roni-Moe, engineered by Alex McGowan at Space Eko Studios and mastered with help from Jim Jones (of The JimJones Revue), the album marks the band’s 13thyear and features 13 tracks that can be heard on their Lucky 13 Tour rolling out this spring and summer.
Opening track While We Were All Asleep sets the mood with a tale about P-R’s volunteer work at the Calais Jungle Refugee Camp, how things can change overnight and the need for people to wake up to the situation. This is followed by key tracks on the album Love And Addiction, which features the band’s new trombone player George ‘LeBoner’ Simmonds and is about exactly ‘what it says on the tin’ plus Shattered Dreams with its jovial take on the darker side of life and the situations we sometimes find ourselves in.
Other tracks from the album include The Ghost From My Bastard Past, with P-R’s therapeutic look back at the more colourful characters in his &the band’s history, Bucket of Blood; about all the hell-holes you end up playing as a touring band,the doom-ballad Baby’s Turning Blue with its ‘Salvation Army’ style horns (a potential Christmas single) and Rusty Water & CoffinNails; a country-tinged number with a typical UVM twist featuring Greek Bouzouki and a gospel Hammond Organ.
The track Destiny Angel was written by NickMarsh (the UVM and Flesh For Lulu guitarist) and his partner Katherine Blake (Medieaval Baebes /Miranda Sex Garden). Nick, who features on eight of the tracks on Hellbound Hymns, sadly passed away last year after losing a battle with throat cancer. Also, not forgotten is violinist Rob ‘thekid’ Skipper, another member of the band who recently passed away due to an accidental heroin overdose - two sad and poignant moments in the band's history.
And talking of history . . . in the beginning UVMmain man Paul-Ronney Angel fled the fjords of Norway after a very short stint in the Norwegian army and traveled to London. During a period of selling the Big Issue and busking around Soho, P-R met various like-minded musicians and came up with the UVM sound. "I wanted to play rock'n'roll music with a different instrumentation "he says “taking inspiration from delta blues, latin and gypsy music without losing the spirit and attitude of punk”. With an act honed alongside burlesque dancers, snake-charmers and fire-eaters they call friends, The UVM have become one of the greatest live acts in the country –terrifyingly bizarre, hysterically funny; a riot for the eyes and sensation for the ears.