flabby, but promising

Where's Your Soul? (self-produced)
Voodoo Love Taxi

By Mark Clark

Voodoo Love Taxi is a young band with an amazing growth curve. Their first independent release, Where's Your Soul?, shows flashes of what an impressive act they could become.

The VLT sound is the musical equivalent of a Tropicana Twister — "flavors nature never intended, but should have." The group blends Latin and samba rhythms with pop melodies. Their tunes are loose, jazzy, improvisational, all of which makes for a fun live show.

To make the transition from a good live band to a strong recording act, the Taxi needs to tighten up its repertoire. Even the band's most promising material. ("Singing Blue," "Roses are Red," "Long Gone") sound a little flabby here, clocking in at least a minute longer than its target weight.

I've got nothing against long songs. But tunes longer than four minutes have to be truly excellent to hold listeners' interest. (An analogy from the nether world of heavy metal: Compare "Stairway to Heaven" with Guns N' Roses' "November Rain.") The problem with the material on Where's Your Soul? is that the tracks are extended by lengthy percussion and guitar breaks that often appear to be noodling around with little sense of direction.

That beef aside, Where's Your Soul? is a fun listen, eminently danceable and party perfect. The sort of disc you put on and, after a few tracks, people come over and ask, "Hey, who is that?" It's Voodoo Love Taxi, and you ll be hearing more from them. Stay tuned.