Wall of Voodoo's second full-length album, Call of the West, was a noticeably more approachable work than their debut, Dark Continent, and it even scored a fluke hit single, "Mexican Radio," a loopy little number about puzzled American tourists that's easily the catchiest thing on the album. But while Wall of Voodoo's textures had gotten a bit less abrasive with time, the band's oddball minor-key approach was still a long way from synth pop, and frontman Stan Ridgway's songs were Americana at it's darkest and least forgiving, full of tales of ordinary folks with little in the way of hopes or dreams, getting by on illusions that seem more like a willful denial of the truth the closer you get to them. There's a quiet tragedy in the ruined suburbanites of "Lost Weekend" and the emotionally stranded working stiff of "Factory," and the title song, which follows some Middle American sad sack as he chases a vague and hopeless dream in California, is as close as pop music has gotten to capturing the bitter chaos of the final chapter of Nathaniel West's The Day of the Locust. In other words, anyone who bought Call of the West figuring it would feature another nine off-kilter pop tunes like "Mexican Radio" probably recoiled in horror by the time they got to the end of side two. But there's an intelligence and wounded compassion in the album's gallery of lost souls, and there's enough bite in the music that it remains satisfying two decades on. Call of the West is that rare example of a new wave band scoring a fluke success with what was also their most satisfying album.
Performance CreditsWall of Voodoo Primary Artist
Charles T. Gray Synthesizer,Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
Richard Mazda Bass
Marc Moreland Guitar,12-string Guitar
Joe Nanini Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Stan Ridgway Harmonica,Keyboards,Vocals
Louis Rivera Percussion
Technical CreditsPaul McCartney Composer
Richard Mazda Producer
Jess Sutcliffe Engineer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Call of the West based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
The Wall of Voodoo was a very fun band, in its own cool post-punk way, and this is the best of their albums.
I bought this cd because i wanted the original version of Mexican Radio. I was surprised at how much I liked the entire CD. I had not heard most of the tracks (and was a teen in the late 80's) and I wish I had discovered it way back then. It's a great flashback. Every song is enjoyable.