• Bryon Harris

Voodoo Kings - 'Eyes on You'

Reviewed by Anthony Nguyen & Staff

The Voodoo Kings believe in rock n’ roll. Through the pulsing of a thumping bass line, the heartbeat of a great rhythm section, and the crunch of dirty guitars, you can hear their passion. The Voodoo Kings are four musicians who give it their all on stage and in the studio. Michael Kranicke, founder of the Voodoo Kings, grew up surrounded by the greatest Chicago bluesmen, thanks to his dad’s record player. Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy taught him the blues, and later Keith Richards and Stevie Ray Vaughan taught him how to turn those blues into a rock-fueled epiphany. For over twenty years, the Voodoo Kings have been bringing the party to audiences around the country. Their latest release, Faith & Whiskey, is lovingly named after the two things that keep Michael going in the music world. Faith & Whiskey is an album with a little bit of Beatles, a touch of Tom Petty, and some whispers from Merle Haggard. It’s a fast-paced, headlong trip through our country’s love affair with Rock. Several Voodoo Kings' singles have found their way onto the silver screen. The single “When I See Her” from their album American Lights was featured in the movie Deal, starring Burt Reynolds. And two songs from their album Mileage, “It’s All Right” and “Strong Will Survive” were used on the Canadian TV series, Dark Rising - Warrior of Worlds. Listen to their song "Eyes on You" to discover why this band will have you falling in love with rock n' roll all over again.

From its opening guitar riff to it’s last explosive chorus, “Eyes on You” by the Voodoo Kings is a wildly entertaining, upbeat song. The main guitars play so well off of each other, almost as if they’re engaging in a conversation. They chug the song along and sound gritty with a solid of amount of mid range while still maintaining a good clarity in the top end. Ryan Elwood on the drums provides a huge burst of energy, with every kick and snare hit preformed with purpose and Mario Pagliarulo plays a tight bass.

The main vocals are carefree in nature, which is not to say they lack emotion and purpose. This more laidback approach really helps the overall song achieve an interesting contrast between the at times hectic rhythm section. The bass is really solid, giving the song a rock steady foundation and has a great symbiotic relationship with the drums. This band is tight and in-the-pocket.

The song wastes no time getting into its main riff, and right out the gate hits listeners with its catchy melody. The verse is upbeat and bright, and the chorus somehow manages to scrum up even more energy with creative arranging and a more focused performance. Doubles in the vocals and an interesting rhythm from the guitar help it stay riveting throughout.

The bridge provides a welcome break from the song, almost like a vacation from melodies that listeners have learned to love. The bridge then explodes into a solo battle between two of the guitars. They are both excellently preformed. Both exhibit the technical chops you might expect from experienced guitar players, but also have the raw emotion of truly great artists.

The inspiration for the song was originally to say goodbye to a person who did a very cruel act yet never claimed to have done anything wrong. This tragic experience finds it’s way into the narrative of the song, a girl who longs for love but is unwilling to open her scarred heart. This is perfectly summed up in the lyrics, “And when you say that there’s no love in your eyes, baby now I find that it’s all true”.

While tragic, ultimately the song is a cry for hope and something more meaningful and all of the lyrics are excellently written. “Eyes on You” by the Voodoo Kings is a superbly written song, performed by a dynamic and exciting band, who are an endless blast to listen.

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