Originally formed in 1977, Wall of Voodoo was a soundtrack company that morphed into a band. The band's big splash lies solely with the early 80's hit "Mexican Radio". Lead singer Stan Ridgeway's vocal styling rings as one of the easiest new wave voices to parody.
The Index Masters is a re-release of the band's debut EP with enough previously unreleased live tracks to make this a full length record. The background in soundtrack recording weighs as a heavy influence in Wall of Voodoo's sound. Each song plays like the quirky background music to a cheap horror movie or video game. The original record topped out at six tracks. Everything beyond that is overkill and, frankly, difficult to listen to.
A cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" sits as the centerpiece, trading the warm mariachi horns for processed mechanics the song takes on brand new meanings. Each song pumps and pulses like a machine while Ridgeway rants or mopes in to the microphone. "The Passenger" and "Can't Make Love" may be the most tuneful of the bunch, actually recognizable as songs and not just experiments.
Many of the live tracks are just hard to stick around for but the straight-up weirdness and awkward feeling may just hold your attention throughout. Wall of Voodoo definitely didn't fit with the bands of their time. Too arty to be punk but completely lacking any style with a bit too much substance. Just a weird little band and their mechanical songs.