Psychedelic jams are not my favorite thing, but somehow I always end up appreciating the experimental witchery of Voodoo Horseshoes. I think it's because their lyrical imagery is so evocative and because they pull off a balance between being goofy and making a point about society and politics.
Rambling Nation is the local band's best album so far with songs that touch on everything from chupacabras to politics, social media and redneck nation. The title track feels like an updated and countrified homage to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," where they sing, "Bird flu, mad cow, layoffs in little towns,/ oil's gone—need some more—mantra of the modern war./ Click on the icon made from a dot com,/ no more face-to-face, lost it all in cyberspace."
There are moments when synth vocals and surplus guitar soloing overwhelm the album, but the addition of banjo, organ and thunderstorm effects are delightful. There's a novelty, "Dr. Demento Show" tone on Rambling Nation, but with styles that echo Frank Zappa, They Might Be Giants and Ween—plus a tinge of cowboy swagger—the band isn't so alien or so jammy that they lose themselves in a psychedelic haze.
Voodoo Horseshoes play an album release show at the Top Hat Sat., Jan. 16, at 10 PM, with Baby Tyger. Free.