The case of Chrome Molly is a bit of a curious one. Perennial never-weres in the mid-to-late 1980’s, a few profile support slots aside, they never muscled their way into the conscious of the masses. Shuffling quietly into the ether with four albums under their belt in 1991, Hoodoo Voodoo is their second album (both earMUSIC) since returning in 2009 and theirs remains a style untouched by any musical development that has occurred post-1986.
The core of the Molly tone is defiantly British, closest to UFO and Saxon, though, it has to be said, without the anthems of either, except for some spitfire riffing of an almost Megadeth bent in ‘Can’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’ when the band up the ante. Elsewhere there’s plenty of Deep Purple worship on display, ‘Save Me’ isn’t a million miles away from ‘Burn’, and ‘Some Kind Of Voodoo’ shuffles off into a Blackmore solo over a triplet chug.
With former Little Angels main man Toby Jepson in the producers chair, the first thing to note is the slavishly retro sound, for better or worse, with Hoodoo Voodoo consciously looking to return to the days when albums were recorded live, warts and all. When held up to scrutiny, it’s fair to say Steve Hawkins isn’t the strongest of vocalists, reminiscent of many British 80’s pub-metal singers, comfortable in midrange, but wobbly when pushed.
While there is much to admire in Chrome Molly’s desire to offer a tribute to the pantheon of rock and metal that inspired them first time around – ‘Pillars of Creation (Albion)’ lists a plethora of rock and metal’s biggest bands that were born on English shores in the 1970’s and offers praise and thanks – with this album written as a tribute to the greats of yesteryear, when those greats are still active and producing heavier, harder and significantly stronger material than Chrome Molly, there is little to recommend about Hoodoo Voodoo and it’s easy to see why theirs is not a name chucked into the mix when reminiscing on those great bands of yesteryear.