Voodoo Monkey Child
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Voodoo Monkey Child

New York, New York, United States | INDIE

New York, New York, United States | INDIE
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Prolusion. The US band VOODOO MONKEY CHILD was formed by composer and keyboardist R. Scott Allen back in 1990, and has been an active unit ever since, sporting a large variety of different lineups. Their first production "A Taste if Afterlife" saw the light of day in 1998. Several band member alterations took place in the following years, but in 2007 the band stabilized and in 2009 its second production "Under a Crescent Moon" was released by the local Illinois label Little Pond Records.

Analysis. I first came across this band a few months ago, when writing down my impressions of an EP featuring radio mixes from this album that for some reason or other had found its way onto my stack of CDs to be reviewed. Not too enthralled by that production, I was pleasantly surprised when the band contacted me and asked if I would care to receive and write about the full-length effort these radio mixes had been compiled from. And while my thoughts may not cause a revolution regarding interest in this act, I for one am grateful for the opportunity to get to know this CD in a better way than the aforementioned EP indicated. The band themselves describe their music as progressive rock. Personally I don't fully subscribe to that notion, and while defining this rather loose and varied genre as a subject, on which music nerds have yet to conclusively decide upon, I'd think that sophisticated soft rock is a better description of the sound explored on this particular production – with a few details pulled from the legacy of 70's art rock artists for sure. The lead vocals of Jana Hurdesova are the main feature here. She has a strong and distinct voice and, as far as I can tell, a perfect delivery, able to convey fragile emotional moods as well as raw passionate feelings with relative ease. Her approach is one of controlled delivery, opting for subtle details rather than untamed wildness. And her talents are best utilized in those tracks with less of an emphasis on sophisticated elements on this occasion, with the symphonic ballad My Love and the following soft rock piece We Can Do It as the most brilliant examples of how much life and energy her voice can add to any given track. The opening three efforts are well-developed efforts too, but not quite as enthralling. The second part of this disc, starting with Seek and ending with Closer to Home, consist of longer compositions with an arguably closer relationship to the symphonic parts of the art rock universe. And while pleasant enough in their own right, I didn't really find any of these tracks making any great impression. For some strange reason, expanding the compositional canvas utilized doesn't lead to creations in which the vocalist and instrumentalists manage to make the most of that freedom. Pleasant efforts by all means, but never truly striking a responsive chord with me aside from minor details and individual themes only, the brilliant initial chorus sequence of Dollhouse the most interesting of these. The final four songs, actually included on a CD of their own, are Czech-language versions of selected album tracks. A nice bonus addition in particular for whatever fan base they may have in the Czech Republic.

Conclusion. While perhaps not what most would describe as progressive rock, Voodoo Monkey Child has crafted an altogether enjoyable and charming album with "Under a Crescent Moon". Sophisticated soft rock featuring some nifty details from the symphonic parts of the art rock universe, this is a CD that I'd suspect quite a few progressive rock fans will enjoy, those fond of the less intricate and more atmospheric varieties of symphonic art rock in particular.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 7, 2011
The Rating Room - Uzbekistan Progessive Rock Pages


Prolusion. The US band VOODOO MONKEY CHILD was formed by composer and keyboardist R. Scott Allen back in 1990, and has been an active unit ever since, sporting a large variety of different lineups. Their first production "A Taste if Afterlife" saw the light of day in 1998. Several band member alterations took place in the following years, but in 2007 the band stabilized and in 2009 its second production "Under a Crescent Moon" was released by the local Illinois label Little Pond Records.

Analysis. I first came across this band a few months ago, when writing down my impressions of an EP featuring radio mixes from this album that for some reason or other had found its way onto my stack of CDs to be reviewed. Not too enthralled by that production, I was pleasantly surprised when the band contacted me and asked if I would care to receive and write about the full-length effort these radio mixes had been compiled from. And while my thoughts may not cause a revolution regarding interest in this act, I for one am grateful for the opportunity to get to know this CD in a better way than the aforementioned EP indicated. The band themselves describe their music as progressive rock. Personally I don't fully subscribe to that notion, and while defining this rather loose and varied genre as a subject, on which music nerds have yet to conclusively decide upon, I'd think that sophisticated soft rock is a better description of the sound explored on this particular production – with a few details pulled from the legacy of 70's art rock artists for sure. The lead vocals of Jana Hurdesova are the main feature here. She has a strong and distinct voice and, as far as I can tell, a perfect delivery, able to convey fragile emotional moods as well as raw passionate feelings with relative ease. Her approach is one of controlled delivery, opting for subtle details rather than untamed wildness. And her talents are best utilized in those tracks with less of an emphasis on sophisticated elements on this occasion, with the symphonic ballad My Love and the following soft rock piece We Can Do It as the most brilliant examples of how much life and energy her voice can add to any given track. The opening three efforts are well-developed efforts too, but not quite as enthralling. The second part of this disc, starting with Seek and ending with Closer to Home, consist of longer compositions with an arguably closer relationship to the symphonic parts of the art rock universe. And while pleasant enough in their own right, I didn't really find any of these tracks making any great impression. For some strange reason, expanding the compositional canvas utilized doesn't lead to creations in which the vocalist and instrumentalists manage to make the most of that freedom. Pleasant efforts by all means, but never truly striking a responsive chord with me aside from minor details and individual themes only, the brilliant initial chorus sequence of Dollhouse the most interesting of these. The final four songs, actually included on a CD of their own, are Czech-language versions of selected album tracks. A nice bonus addition in particular for whatever fan base they may have in the Czech Republic.

Conclusion. While perhaps not what most would describe as progressive rock, Voodoo Monkey Child has crafted an altogether enjoyable and charming album with "Under a Crescent Moon". Sophisticated soft rock featuring some nifty details from the symphonic parts of the art rock universe, this is a CD that I'd suspect quite a few progressive rock fans will enjoy, those fond of the less intricate and more atmospheric varieties of symphonic art rock in particular.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 7, 2011
The Rating Room - Uzbekistan Progessive Rock Pages


Music is all about feeling and emotion and the ability of the artist to transport the listener to another place. The Chicago area Voodoo Monkey Child do just that with their new album Under A Crescent Moon. This is the band's second album, their first being A Taste of the Afterlife, which I have yet to hear. On the band's MySpace page, they say the band sounds like "Voodoo Monkey Child of course" which makes a lot of sense once you have heard the album. Oh sure there are influences here, perhaps the most prominent being a retro sound from the 70s harkening back to classic bands like Heart and other female fronted bands, as well as modern bands like Nightwish and Evanescence. However, Voodoo Monkey Child manage to keep their music from sounding stale and boring by injecting their own personalities into their craft.

Czechoslovakian vocalist Janey Age provides many of the highlights and is integral to the band's sound. She has great control and injects plenty of emotion into her voice, making her a pleasure to listen to. At times her voice carries a gothic quality that recalls the Scandinavian female fronted metal scene, although she never ventures into opera as some of those vocalists do. Complimenting Age is the excellent guitar work of Michael J. Fergusson. He's not a flashy player but provides plenty of melody and top notch guitar work in the vein of 70s classic rock, leaving his stamp of tasty leads and catchy acoustic rhythms.

Picking out individual highlights is difficult as there are no weak songs as this is a consistent effort from the first to last song. The album begins with the gothic tinged rock of "Reigning Fire" where piano, crunchy riffs, keyboards and a melodic chorus has the listener hooked. The melodic "Away" recalls mellower Nightwish featuring a piano melody coursing all the way through. "In the Bed" recalls a classic 70s sound with acoustic rhythms and bursts of lead guitar reminding me of Carlos Santana. "My Love" is an elegant ballad that flows beautifully carrying a somber atmosphere while the album ending "Closer to Home" has a feel good sound filled with psychedelic guitar goodness. The album's longest song is the alluring "Dama Dama" with a sweeping sound of acoustic guitars and retro sounding synths that makes me want to hit the repeat button on my CD player.

Also included is a second disc with the first four songs of disc one sung in Czechoslovakian. This is a nice bonus, although probably not essential if you have the first CD.

Voodoo Monkey Child's Under a Crescent Moon is another pleasant surprise that came in under the radar and caught me totally off guard. There unique and melodic approach to classic retro sounds works beautifully. Do yourself a favour and check them out. You will not be disappointed.
- Progressive Ears - 21st Century Progressive Rock


Music is all about feeling and emotion and the ability of the artist to transport the listener to another place. The Chicago area Voodoo Monkey Child do just that with their new album Under A Crescent Moon. This is the band's second album, their first being A Taste of the Afterlife, which I have yet to hear. On the band's MySpace page, they say the band sounds like "Voodoo Monkey Child of course" which makes a lot of sense once you have heard the album. Oh sure there are influences here, perhaps the most prominent being a retro sound from the 70s harkening back to classic bands like Heart and other female fronted bands, as well as modern bands like Nightwish and Evanescence. However, Voodoo Monkey Child manage to keep their music from sounding stale and boring by injecting their own personalities into their craft.

Czechoslovakian vocalist Janey Age provides many of the highlights and is integral to the band's sound. She has great control and injects plenty of emotion into her voice, making her a pleasure to listen to. At times her voice carries a gothic quality that recalls the Scandinavian female fronted metal scene, although she never ventures into opera as some of those vocalists do. Complimenting Age is the excellent guitar work of Michael J. Fergusson. He's not a flashy player but provides plenty of melody and top notch guitar work in the vein of 70s classic rock, leaving his stamp of tasty leads and catchy acoustic rhythms.

Picking out individual highlights is difficult as there are no weak songs as this is a consistent effort from the first to last song. The album begins with the gothic tinged rock of "Reigning Fire" where piano, crunchy riffs, keyboards and a melodic chorus has the listener hooked. The melodic "Away" recalls mellower Nightwish featuring a piano melody coursing all the way through. "In the Bed" recalls a classic 70s sound with acoustic rhythms and bursts of lead guitar reminding me of Carlos Santana. "My Love" is an elegant ballad that flows beautifully carrying a somber atmosphere while the album ending "Closer to Home" has a feel good sound filled with psychedelic guitar goodness. The album's longest song is the alluring "Dama Dama" with a sweeping sound of acoustic guitars and retro sounding synths that makes me want to hit the repeat button on my CD player.

Also included is a second disc with the first four songs of disc one sung in Czechoslovakian. This is a nice bonus, although probably not essential if you have the first CD.

Voodoo Monkey Child's Under a Crescent Moon is another pleasant surprise that came in under the radar and caught me totally off guard. There unique and melodic approach to classic retro sounds works beautifully. Do yourself a favour and check them out. You will not be disappointed.
- Progressive Ears - 21st Century Progressive Rock


A complete surprise we have here, because the Illinois, Chicago area based US band VOODOO MONKEY CHILD releases a sensational 2-CD set here with ‘Under a crescent moon’, which is already their 2nd album. The band is playing superb high quality melodic progressive rock. Sometimes they remind a bit of GLASS HAMMER, yet more melodic and thanks to the fantastic vocalwork of female singer JANEY AGE, this band is lifted way above any other progband out there at the moment. Sometimes also MOSTLY AUTUMN and LANA LANE come to mind, but VOODOO MONKEY CHILD has sort of an own sound, which can happily be heard on 2 full-length CDs here. Like mentioned before, the female singer is the winner here, as she has an incredible voice and the funny thing is that she is actually a Czech Republic born singer and the 2nd CD that comes along with this new album is sung in her native language. Anyway, without a doubt, this is highly recommended stuff, a must-have for any fan of melodic progrock from start to finish, so make sure not to miss this one at: www.voodoomonkeychild.com
- Strutterzine Progressive Review


A complete surprise we have here, because the Illinois, Chicago area based US band VOODOO MONKEY CHILD releases a sensational 2-CD set here with ‘Under a crescent moon’, which is already their 2nd album. The band is playing superb high quality melodic progressive rock. Sometimes they remind a bit of GLASS HAMMER, yet more melodic and thanks to the fantastic vocalwork of female singer JANEY AGE, this band is lifted way above any other progband out there at the moment. Sometimes also MOSTLY AUTUMN and LANA LANE come to mind, but VOODOO MONKEY CHILD has sort of an own sound, which can happily be heard on 2 full-length CDs here. Like mentioned before, the female singer is the winner here, as she has an incredible voice and the funny thing is that she is actually a Czech Republic born singer and the 2nd CD that comes along with this new album is sung in her native language. Anyway, without a doubt, this is highly recommended stuff, a must-have for any fan of melodic progrock from start to finish, so make sure not to miss this one at: www.voodoomonkeychild.com
- Strutterzine Progressive Review


Tracklist:

CD1: Reigning Fire (4:20), Away (5:27), In The Bed (4:40), My Love (6:45), We Can Do It (7:03), Seek (6:44), Dama Dama (8:44), Dollhouse (6:07), Closer To Home (7:49)

CD2: Vcerejsi Noc [In The Bed] (4:39), Cas [Reigning Fire] (4:23), Tua Naruc Sila Ma [My Love] (6:45), V Oblacich [Away] (5:28)

Voodoo Monkey Child are a five piece progressive rock band from Chicago Illinois featuring R Scott Allen (keyboards/omnichord), Michael Ferguson (guitars/backing vocals), Scott Hume (drums/percussion/backing vocals), Tim Rogers (bass/backing vocals) and Janey Age [Jana Hurdesova] (vocals/percussion). This is their second album and is somewhat intriguing. Why? Because their second disk of this set is a rework of four tracks off the first CD redone in Czech! This would be because Janey Age is from the Czech Republic who has been living in the USA since 1999. It offers a European feel to the music too.

Let me lead the way because what I have come across is a little gem. There is some outstanding guitar work especially on Seek and some very powerful vocals from Janey throughout the whole album. This is a real grower of an album and if you are prepared to acquire a copy you will be richly rewarded. This would appeal massively to anyone who loves melodic prog or AOR, as it covers both these genres very well.

Reigning Fire the retro crackling of vinyl and piano chord starts the procedures before the song drops into a pounding military paced rhythm section formulaic rock track with some fancy keyboard work thrown in. The Czech vocal version on disk two I personally think makes the track sounds ballsy. Musically it’s exactly the same.

Away opens like an 80’s AOR track with the guitar work being the stand out feature, tones and solo’s to die for. I really love the groove that runs through the whole piece, it’s so precise. The alternate vocal version offers nothing new at all really to this track. I personally believe the album version is the stronger of the two.

In The Bed is strong vocally although Janey’s diction does slip from time to time which makes it sound sultry, something that is not really associated with prog, but hey ho. The Czech version reinforces this feeling giving it more depth and emotion. Vocally Vaya Con Dios sprang to mind.

My Love is another beautiful piece with layered vocals adding depth to the whole affair supported by some really good keyboard work from Scott Allen. When the guitar started Kansas’ Dust In The Wind jumped to my mind, again the alternative vocal version adds depth.

We Can Do It allows Janey to show her vocal prowess with the song having a very catch hook and a great summery sound, supported by some excellent keyboard work. This has Magenta phrased vocals written all over it, and I could imagine the guys playing this.

Seek is a powerful and the standout track that made me sit up and really listen. The intro is a piano piece which leads the way for some rather outstanding and memorable guitar work from Ferguson. The rest of the band underpin and complement Ferguson's dexterous work, creating some great hooks and melodies all driven by Janey’s powerful vocals. This is classy stuff indeed and had me pressing the repeat button straight away, having not totally believing what I had just heard.

Dama Dama again is another great track with more absolutely stunning guitar work and vocals. The keyboard work of Scott Allen is so complimentary to the whole piece adding dynamics. The layering of the vocals just oozes quality.

Dollhouse starts out with laughter and piano before the rest of the gang kick in with great rhythm section work from Hume and Rogers who keep this piece driving forward changing pace at will. I love Hume’s drumming on this track especially just before the song falls into the beginning of the Ring A Round Roses nursery rhyme.

Closer To Home sadly brings the whole affair to an end with yet even more fantastic musicianship. All the strings are pulled out to end on a high with more great melodies, great hooks a band that are tighter than a camels backside in a sand storm.

The two things that standout most on this album are the vocals and guitar work. This is not to say that the rest of the band is any less significant, not by a long way, as this is a strong and consistent album from beginning to end, the band even use an Omnichord, (how prog sounding is that) which you can hear all through the album.

Janey started singing at the age of 6 and you can certainly tell over the years she has certainly perfected her craft. Vocally she is strong and confident working well within her range whether singing in her native tongue or in English. It is quite easy sometimes for singers of this genre to take an operatic style approach, something that Janey has avoided.

The bands influences are diverse and it’s nice to see that they haven’t tried to emulate them in sound or style really which is refreshing. I know it can be qu - Dutch Progressive Rock Page


Tracklist:

CD1: Reigning Fire (4:20), Away (5:27), In The Bed (4:40), My Love (6:45), We Can Do It (7:03), Seek (6:44), Dama Dama (8:44), Dollhouse (6:07), Closer To Home (7:49)

CD2: Vcerejsi Noc [In The Bed] (4:39), Cas [Reigning Fire] (4:23), Tua Naruc Sila Ma [My Love] (6:45), V Oblacich [Away] (5:28)

Voodoo Monkey Child are a five piece progressive rock band from Chicago Illinois featuring R Scott Allen (keyboards/omnichord), Michael Ferguson (guitars/backing vocals), Scott Hume (drums/percussion/backing vocals), Tim Rogers (bass/backing vocals) and Janey Age [Jana Hurdesova] (vocals/percussion). This is their second album and is somewhat intriguing. Why? Because their second disk of this set is a rework of four tracks off the first CD redone in Czech! This would be because Janey Age is from the Czech Republic who has been living in the USA since 1999. It offers a European feel to the music too.

Let me lead the way because what I have come across is a little gem. There is some outstanding guitar work especially on Seek and some very powerful vocals from Janey throughout the whole album. This is a real grower of an album and if you are prepared to acquire a copy you will be richly rewarded. This would appeal massively to anyone who loves melodic prog or AOR, as it covers both these genres very well.

Reigning Fire the retro crackling of vinyl and piano chord starts the procedures before the song drops into a pounding military paced rhythm section formulaic rock track with some fancy keyboard work thrown in. The Czech vocal version on disk two I personally think makes the track sounds ballsy. Musically it’s exactly the same.

Away opens like an 80’s AOR track with the guitar work being the stand out feature, tones and solo’s to die for. I really love the groove that runs through the whole piece, it’s so precise. The alternate vocal version offers nothing new at all really to this track. I personally believe the album version is the stronger of the two.

In The Bed is strong vocally although Janey’s diction does slip from time to time which makes it sound sultry, something that is not really associated with prog, but hey ho. The Czech version reinforces this feeling giving it more depth and emotion. Vocally Vaya Con Dios sprang to mind.

My Love is another beautiful piece with layered vocals adding depth to the whole affair supported by some really good keyboard work from Scott Allen. When the guitar started Kansas’ Dust In The Wind jumped to my mind, again the alternative vocal version adds depth.

We Can Do It allows Janey to show her vocal prowess with the song having a very catch hook and a great summery sound, supported by some excellent keyboard work. This has Magenta phrased vocals written all over it, and I could imagine the guys playing this.

Seek is a powerful and the standout track that made me sit up and really listen. The intro is a piano piece which leads the way for some rather outstanding and memorable guitar work from Ferguson. The rest of the band underpin and complement Ferguson's dexterous work, creating some great hooks and melodies all driven by Janey’s powerful vocals. This is classy stuff indeed and had me pressing the repeat button straight away, having not totally believing what I had just heard.

Dama Dama again is another great track with more absolutely stunning guitar work and vocals. The keyboard work of Scott Allen is so complimentary to the whole piece adding dynamics. The layering of the vocals just oozes quality.

Dollhouse starts out with laughter and piano before the rest of the gang kick in with great rhythm section work from Hume and Rogers who keep this piece driving forward changing pace at will. I love Hume’s drumming on this track especially just before the song falls into the beginning of the Ring A Round Roses nursery rhyme.

Closer To Home sadly brings the whole affair to an end with yet even more fantastic musicianship. All the strings are pulled out to end on a high with more great melodies, great hooks a band that are tighter than a camels backside in a sand storm.

The two things that standout most on this album are the vocals and guitar work. This is not to say that the rest of the band is any less significant, not by a long way, as this is a strong and consistent album from beginning to end, the band even use an Omnichord, (how prog sounding is that) which you can hear all through the album.

Janey started singing at the age of 6 and you can certainly tell over the years she has certainly perfected her craft. Vocally she is strong and confident working well within her range whether singing in her native tongue or in English. It is quite easy sometimes for singers of this genre to take an operatic style approach, something that Janey has avoided.

The bands influences are diverse and it’s nice to see that they haven’t tried to emulate them in sound or style really which is refreshing. I know it can be qu - Dutch Progressive Rock Page


Discography

A Taste of Afterlife - 1999
Under A Crescent Moon - 2008

Photos

Bio

Janey Age ( Jana Hurdesova ) is a singer from Czech Republic who's been singing all her life. She started at The Childern's community singing when she was 6 years old. When she was 12 years old she taught herself to play the guitar and started off her first band when she was 13 years old. Janey performed with all kinds of bands from folk , country, pop, rock. In 1997 she made her first CD called Hurt Agles ( Poraneni Andele ) with a folk guitar player and a singer Martin Roller. In November 1999 she arrived in Chicago and during her first 2 months she joined the VATA band and performed with them for the next 4 years playing at clubs in Chicago and at all special event parties. In 2004 Janey joined hard-rock band FULL OF SILENCE and she recorded their debut CD with them called Century of Fear. Janey Age is a songwriter and also a member of the Theater Company's Dech and Bohemia, there she performs in musicals.

R. Scott Allen has loved music ever since he was a little kid, growing up in Oklahoma City. His first 'professional" group was "The Grapefruit Lampshade", and over the years, he has also played and recorded with: " Leddhill"." Kamillion"." The Nowns", "Ezy Prophet", and "Dasein", before helping found Voodoo Monkey Child. "VOODOO MONKEY CHILD" has always been a true progressive rock outfit - great music and vocals, expressive and meaningful lyrics, surrounded by creative and wonderful artwork. Every time the personnel have changed, the band has gotten even better; we are blessed and lucky indeed. It is a great honor to be in Voodoo Monkey Child!" Scott also likes to play tennis, travel, fence, take care of a bunch of different kinds of pets, and participate in 4-H projects with his son.

Scott Hume - I got my first drum set when I was about 6 years old. I banged on it for a few years but wasn't really interested. I took piano lessons for a short time as well as percussion and guitar. It wasn't until I was 12 that I really started to like the drums. I took lessons for a couple of years with a teacher named Todd Wolf who is an exceptional Drummer and teacher. Some of my influences are, Dream Theater, Megadeth, King Diamond, Shane Gaalaas, Rush..... and still growing. Up until I joined VMC I had played in numerous unnamed bands and had the pleasure of gigging with a band named Defile for 5 years. The current lineup that we have now sounds the best we have ever sounded. I am truly honored to be playing with a great group of pros that have the same musical goals as I do.

Mike Ferguson - It all started when we were little babies!!! I was the oldest! I have two little brothers and a little sis! My mom and dad were always singing different songs to us all the time. They were always playing records and the radio was on constantly!! I was born on the westside of Chicago, so I feel I’ve inherited the spirit and rhythm of the area. When I was 4 or 5 I heard a song called “Hang on Sloopy” by the McCoy’s. I was hooked!!! When I was 13 I got a paper rout and bought a Gibson S-G and an Earth amplifier! That was it. Many bands, many influences many stories and many friends!!! I’ve played with Tim and Scott A. in different bands for over 25 years , Scott H. for 12 years. Were all still playing together!!! I like to fish, scuba dive, travel, cooking, ect. My influences are Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Robin Trower, Jeff Beck, Pat Travers, Rick Derringer and more. Seize the day!! Stick to your guns!! Practice!! Practice!! Practice!! Don’t be a Shlub!! Peace! Love! Out!

Tim Rogers - I have been a student of music since grade school. Early influences were classical music, western & then jazz. I started playing low brass instruments (baritone, tuba, trombone) then taught myself how to play the string bass. I progressed to bass guitar because it was easier to carry around! I have been in the following bands: Thorntoneers, J.C. & the Disciples, Satan's Angels, Summit, Ampersand (where I met Mike), Dasein (where I met S. Allen), The Weeds and now Voodoo Monkey Child. I've played on many other projects with many diverse musicians but I get the greatest enjoyment playing with VMC. I feel with this current group, we can achieve greatness.

Band Members