Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.
Back in the 1980’s, the imaginative garage rock of Australia’s Hoodoo Gurus evoked images of wild frat parties, but the recently released Purity Of Essence feels more like hanging out at the corner bar with an highly opinionated drunk. Lead vocalist and chief songwriter Dave Faulkner has been coming across as bitter and frustrated for some time now, as if the entire world has it in for him. Somehow, this results in a lot of fun on Purity Of Essence, which like its eight predecessors, is packed with irresistible melodies and rampaging guitars.
“Somebody Take Me Home,” a southern flavored rock song, finds Faulkner seeking salvation at his favorite watering hole, and on “Let Me In,” the pick-up lines turn progressively ugly as he notes, “If you’re looking for perfection, I aint the one.” “What’s In It For Me?” is a rollicking slam at panhandlers that evokes The Rolling Stones, while the first single, “Crackin’ Up” sets a defiant attitude to a supercharged arrangement. Faulkner’s best satire come on “I Hope You’re Happy,” a faux gospel number that skewers plastic surgery and trendy spirituality, and the funky “Only In America,” which takes another swipe at organized religion, as well as the treatment of migrant workers. There are a few misfires on this 16-song set, but for the most part, Purity Of Essence is a pure joy.