Velvet Voodoo Dolls
by Scott Hefflon
It’s about time someone dug a little deeper rather than merely scouring the surface. While most bands are scratching the hell out of their glossly, post-glam exterior to get that rough edge to latch onto, the Velvet Voodoo Dolls have drilled through and found their roots. They’ve by-passed the Soundgarden/Alice in Chains/Stone Temple Pilots/Pantera sure-fire road to mediocrity and taken the risky route of self-definition. Jon Eric Belton’s street-smart (savvy, perhaps?) drumming and the subtle, tasty bass licks compliments of Geoff St. Pierre provide foundation that’s solid enough to carry any extravagance, yet fluid enough to move with it. Gary Dylan Phelps’ trippy guitar fills cavort and swirl with super-wah ease. His rhythms are heavy and chunky, while his solos are light and playful. Add the chain-smoking, true grit vocals of Jose Alberto and blend in the purity of Callie Katsounkis’ silky voice. The two voices work miracles together. His throaty, hard-working integrity and her sensuous caress of optimism.
The six songs on their pre-release range from solid, driving blues jams (but when combining Jon’s wahed out-of-this-world guitar and Jose’s conversational croaking, it’s not nearly as Temple of the Dog as it sounds), to soulful, hard-edged grit rock, to some seriously giddy, groovy frolics. The continuity that threads together every song, every band member, every lyric is the heart that pumps through this band. This is the kind of soul-on-your-sleeve honesty that’s impossible to fake. Their demo, Love Circle, is scheduled to be out this month. Look for it in the music stores that are hip enough to support the local scene, send away for it if you have to, just don’t ask to “borrow” my copy ’cause I won’t give it up.