WALL OF VOODOO – Dark Continent (1981)

Review by: Joseph Middleton Welling
Album assigned by: Jonathan Moss

The drums on this album are insane – but not in the way you’d expect. The first note I wrote when listening to this album for the first time was ‘drum machine.’ Imagine my surprise when I looked up this album online and found out that Wall of Voodoo have a real live drummer. Presumably with arms and everything. All I can say is that he does a great job of sounding like a machine, all the drums on this album sound like clinky synth pads and old style drum machine patterns. Really martial rhythms that are an amazing foundation for some demented New Wave. But enough about the drums,

The rest of the band is also great. The guitar alternately scurries and clanks, in the classic post-punk style. Some songs are dominated by synths, which have a cool 50’s sci-fi style. Every other song or so the bass will punch in with a really bulbous riff. ‘Back in Flesh’ is probably the album’s best bass moment. The whole song sounds like Joy Division trapped in a malevolent circus. The vocals on this one are amazing too, real paranoia taken so over the to that it becomes hilarious. Most of the songs seem to be about paranoia to be honest. The vocalist reminds me a bit of Jello Biafra. 

There are a number of great choruses on the album and a couple of tracks that rely more on unhinged atmosphere. Honestly the album is very consistent and that makes it hard to pick highlights. I’d recommend listening to ‘Red Light’ ‘Animal Day’, ‘Back in Flesh’ or ‘Crack that Bell’ for a good precis of what this album is like. But the whole thing is so consistent that I could see almost any song being picked as a highlight. 

In conclusion – a fun album. Will listen again.