Need more Voltaire? Gothic Beauty #16 has TWO interviews with Voltaire! Click here to see more.
"A NYC Club scenester and comic book creator, Voltaire has discovered the alchemical formula to transform formal, minor key violins and gypsy acoustic guitar into an aural tickle that makes skulls grin and devils tap their toes. Voltaire puts the fun back into morbidity." - Lollipop Magazine
Known for his satirical dark humor, Voltaire gives love the finger on Boo Hoo: a break up record for lonely hearts with an ax to grind! This isn't a CD you share with the one you love. This is the CD you send to your ex! Voltaire's third CD explores the soulfulness of modern music, yet does it within his trademark old world, acoustic gypsy sound. After spending the better part of the last 12 years in a somewhat idyllic relationship, Voltaire suddenly found himself with a one way ticket to Heartbreak Hotel. This led to an album's worth of material spanning the gamut of emotions of love lost -- from bitterness, remorse, sorrow and anger to irreverence, defiance, acceptance and consolation; mixed - of course - with heavy doses of the satirical dark humor Voltaire has become notorious for.
The Vampire Club
Oh, the moon was full
And the color of blood
The night the Pirates came
To the Vampire club
Their leader was tall and snide and slim.
He looked like a gay Captain Morgan
Well, he recognized a Vampire
From his school
And he did something that was
Most uncool, he said,
“Hey everybody, see the fool in the cape?
His name is Bernie Weinstein
And he's in the 8th grade!”
Fangs were flying, capes were torn
Hell hath no fury like a Vampire scorned
The number one rule in this game:
Never call one by his real name
Wigs were pulled, top hats were crushed
By pointy boots in a rush
And Boris at the bar orders a Bud and says,
“It’s just another night at the Vampire Club.”
Missi lost a fang in the ladies room
And we all laughed and called her “Snaggletooth!”
And Dee was mad cause he broke his cane
And he flushed his contacts down the drain
There was so much angst after the fight
Vlad and Akasha broke up that night
While some rivet-heads danced in a puddle of goo
That use to be “Father” you-know-who!
Well, it’s hard to believe but we’re still around
And when we hang out it’s always upside down
Dressed in black from toe to head singing,
“Bela Lugosi’s still undead!”
A gaggle of Goths is a peaceful site
We’d do anything to avoid a fight
But if you really want to see some gore and blood
Wait ‘til the Ravers come to the Vampire club!
| 4 stars | Leave it to Voltaire to continue being the ultimate prince of wry darkness - even though the album was indeed inspired by his sadness over the breakup of a relationship, he knows darn well that the best approach isn't self-pity so much as dry humor. Thus the hilarious cover art: Voltaire as sweater-wearing troubadour on stage, one eye blackened, with broken hearts behind him - not to mention the knowingly silly title of the album itself. Boo Hoo actually has its share of serious moments, but wisely Voltaire sugars the pill - or perhaps more accurately, puts more medicine in the sugar - with another set of songs at once celebrating and wickedly vivisecting the goth lifestyle. The swirling Eastern European melodies of earlier releases are often replaced by other approaches (check out the '40s swing kick of "BRAINS!" and "…About a Girl"), but Gregor Kitzis' violin and Matthew Goeke's cello add just enough of both elegance and energy to the proceedings. As for Voltaire's singing, his quite beautiful, warm voice is still in perfect shape - again, his avoidance of goth clichés (no deep bellowing or groaning here) proves to be one of the best approaches in the genre in ages. When Voltaire cuts to the heart, he does so with direct focus - "Where's the Girl?" contains not one laugh, coming across like the black-wearing counterpart to the Beach Boys' lament "Caroline, No," while "Let It Go" and "I'm Sorry" are no less wracked, Voltaire's lightness of tone belying the darker sentiments of his words. Meanwhile, "Future Ex Girlfriend" and "See You in Hell" couch things in wit as much as direct pain, finding a fine balance between the two. As for laugh riots, check out the hilarious, jaunty portrait of a politically unaware goth, "Irresponsible," not to mention the portrait of the scene and its pitfalls, "The Vampire Club." Intriguing covers of Björk's "Bachelorette" and Tori Amos' "Caught a Lite Sneeze" flesh out the album. - Ned Raggett
A review from Columbus Alive:
The gothic subculture is not a group that lends itself to humor. So Voltaire, aside from being a renowned comic book creator, is possibly the genre's only satirist. The cover of his third disc shows him with blackened eye and sensitive sweater surrounded by broken hearts, and Boo Hoo (Projekt) lives up to the imagery, waxing semi-seriously about an ended relationship. The few unrelated tracks offer the most wry giggles, however: The Vampire Club notes that one guest looked like "a gay Captain Morgan" before declaring "Bela Lugosi's still undead," and Graveyard Picnic is the most optimistic polyandrium-plodding paean ever. The best thing about Voltaire is his refusal to ape goth's clichés while good-naturedly mocking the seriousness. The music is a poppy mix of melodic violins and other strings and his voice approximates lounge sensibilities more than gloomy disaffection, making Voltaire someone gothic fans might not have understood if he didn't understand them so well. -Brian O'Neill
Voltaire is the assumed name of a singer and comic writer who has made his third album. Voltaire turns his attention to the subject of lost love. Musically he's a bit mellower than on his first record The Devil's Bris. The music retains its Celtic influences and odd old world charm though. Voltaire's voice has never sounded richer of more seductive. The album goes from the bitter "See You in Hell" to the sad "Where's the Girl". Then there's the funny swipe at the goth scene in the marvelous "The Vampire Club". A merry sea shanty in style with lines like "There was so much angst after the fight / Vlad and Akasha broke up that night". He also covers Tori Amos and Björk in a very inspired fashion. The Tori cover "Caught a Lite Sneeze" is lushly orchestrated and has a superb vocal performance. The loungey "About a Girl" is another highlight on this bitterly amusing and brilliant album. - Anna Maria Stjärnell
Though best known for his animation work and his satirical comic book Oh My Goth!, Voltaire, the clown prince of the New York Goth scene, is also a songwriter of irreverent wit. After two collections in which he gleefully bit the hand that feeds him, now he turns his attention to that most universal of subjects: love. Ostensibly the chronicle of a painful break-up, Boo Hoo shoots happyface-adorned arrows at potential romance ("Future Ex Girlfriend"), lonely obsession ("#1 Fan") and righteous post-breakup anger ("See You in Hell," in which Voltaire sings "You put me through Hell" to a tune reminiscent of the Smiths). He also sucks the blood out of the Goth vampire scene in "Vampire Club," waxes rhapsodic about his favorite author in "Graveyard Picnic" and pays tribute to low-budget sci-fi films with "BRAINS!" As caustic as he can get with his barbs and one-liners, he's not being mean-spirited-he only makes fun of the things he loves. Besides, it's not all ironic humor and pisstaking-tunes like "I'm Sorry," "Let It Go" and "...About a Girl" get to the heart of the matter without verbal dismemberment. He's also left behind most of the gypsy and Celtic elements of previous records, luxuriating in straightforward acoustic pop arrangement that highlight his engaging voice and irresistible melodies. In fact, the instantly appealing sound is the biggest surprise on Boo Hoo, though it's far from the only pleasure. - Michael Toland [buy it]
For fans of: the Peenbeets, Loudon Wainwright III, Morrissey
Voltaire offers witty cynicism from a sad clown escorted by a splendid band whose musical lineup includes a violin, cello and trombone. Each band member, except the drummer/trombone player, contributes to the songwriting, which is probably why every number sounds so full and rich. Voltaire is over the top, enunciating his words with exaggerated melodrama in the vein of Morrissey, but a lot more fun. "Brains!" pays tribute to big band/swing sounds, with a campy vampire twist as Voltaire sings about eating brains and mimics Bela Lugosi's eerie cackle. "About A Girl" has a snazzy Sinatra appeal to it, showing Voltaire's versatility as fingers snap and trombones go to town. The pick of this litter would be "Future Ex-Girlfriend" - a trophy breakup anthem that will have listeners in stitches. An entertaining ex-love song full of resentful jabs and wicked sarcasm. And the band gloriously plays on. Yes, misery loves accompaniment. - Mary Anne Christiano
A tongue-in-cheek album for all the girls Voltaire has loved before. No, these are not love songs, but hilariously infectious tunes and playful sarcasm with that gothy touch.
| 8 out of 10 | King of Goth Satire Finds his Voice: | Boo Hoo is a concept album born of personal frustration for Voltaire, the ever grinning balladeer to let the entire world know that even for him breaking up is hard to do. Here we find a little bir more of the real Voltaire, and less of the sinister charmer of his past albums. The bitterness begins with the song "Future Ex-Girlfriends," which despite the trademark violin in the background is a straight-up pop song that could leave the goth club in the dust and hit the airwaves. Yet, the pain really starts with "Where's the Girl?" and ends with "Let it go." My favorite song on the record is his cover of Bjork's "Bachelor(ette)," where I honestly thought I was listening to a Frank Sinatra tune the first time I heard it. Voltaire can actually sing, which is quite impressive when compared to the ego bruised whines and moans of the top selling male vocalists of today. For those Voltaire groupies that can't get enough of the classic Voltaire shenanigans, he was kind enough to throw in "The Vampire Club" which was a live favorite, and has a nice rockabilly twist to it. This is the best album that Voltaire has put out to date, and will completely move him away from being taged as simply a niche novelty artist, and instead land him in the more diverse alternative music genre. - Lucasta
Voltaire has always brought a sense of self-deprecating humor to the otherwise morbid goth audience that most appreciates his Renaissance Festival gypsy music. However, Boo Hoo focuses more on anti-Valentine's Day themes of heartbreak and breakup than on celebratory themes of Halloween-ish evil. Always filled with satire, Voltaire still finds a way to make us chuckle at his misery on songs like "Future Ex Girlfriend" and "See You In Hell" and even throws in an obligatory stab at the black-lipstick-wearing set on "The Vampire Club" for good measure. His cover of Bjork's "Bachelor(ette)" seems like it was written just for this album while his electronic-tinged version of Tori Amos' "Caught a Lite Sneeze" takes on an irony not originally intended when Voltaire croons, "I need a big loan from the girl zone." Just the kind of dark humor that could help anyone overcome a case post-breakup blues. - Jonathan Williams (Music Editor)
Voltaire is just about the only musician I know who has the balls to take a personal situation and make it public. What's more, he makes fun of it and puts it on his new CD - call it humor as catharsis if you will. By now his break up with his long time partner is no secret to most people. At Projektfest he announced to the entire crowd that it was his first convention as a "single" man - lord forbid. His latest CD, Boo Hoo
is described on the Projekt website as "a break up record for lonely hearts with an ax to grind!" and inside the CD sleeve in the credits he writes, "Dedicated to 'you know who' with love, hate, bitterness and reconciliation." So while the songs on this CD are as funny and as witty as you've come to expect from Voltaire, I cannot help but wince just slightly knowing that some of it is based in truth. Perhaps he should tour with Funhouse when they come to the U.S. They could call it the "Songs About My Ex" tour and we could all show up for a night of drunken musical therapy. Count me in.
Over all, Boo Hoo is a solid and worthy release from Voltaire. The comedy that you've come to expect from him is here in doses but there's alot more of the serious stuff going on and it seems as though the music has gotten a bit more serious too. His vocals are better and more confident and the orchestration of the stringed instruments through out is nothing short of breath taking. Props to Voltaire for making classical instrumentation part of our current music talent pool. We need more of that. - Blu
A review from Témoignage Chrétien (France):
POP-ROCK. Voltaire désabusé. A l'instar de son illustre homonyme français, l'auteur-compositeur new-yorkais Voltaire manie l'humour avec la dextérité d'un escrimeur. Sur son dernier album, écrit, dit-on, à la suite d'une douloureuse rupture, c'est aux minauderies sentimentales que cet artiste protéiforme, auteur également de bandes-dessinées, s'en est pris. Un disque coloré où, parmi de multiples références, le jeune homme révèle un goût prononcé pour la musique tzigane.
A review from The Guardian (UK):
| 4 stars | Music and comedy are rarely happy bedfellows, writes Stuart Moses. But New York-based Voltaire manages to blend witty lyrics with upbeat guitar and fiddle music that raises a smile more often than a grimace. Tackling the complex subject of love after the break-up of a 12-year relationship would see most songwriters wallowing in depression - but not Voltaire, he decides that the best revenge is to turn disintegration into inspiration. There aren't many people that would attempt Björk's "Bachelorette" and Tori Amos' "Caught a Lite Sneeze" on the same album, but Voltaire is no ordinary singer. - Stuart Moses
A review from The Sentimentalist:
Love Gone Awry, Mischievous Gypsy style | Voltaire's back, as wordy, mischievous and melodious as ever, but wearing an added bitterness on his love-weary sleeve. Love gone sour is never a pretty thing, but Voltaire manages to make it fun and upbeat with this collection of, you guessed it, 14 songs on heartbreak and more. From his clever version of Björk's "Bachelor(ette)" to his prerequisite poke-fun-at-the-goth-scene "Vampire Club" (which includes his dead on imitation of Peter Murphy singing "Bela Lugosi"), there's much dark humor and romance to feed on here, and it's all played to those lovely strains of gypsy violins, cello and acoustic guitar by Voltaire and his merry band of classy musicians. This one's sure to make a whole new crop of Voltaire fans swoon. - Celine