Rock music can come from anywhere; the United States and United Kingdom don’t have first rights on anything convincing with a singer, guitar, bass, and drums. Finnish band Tom Tikka and the Missing Hubcaps dispatch rock music with every bit the same level of credibility a band from London or New York City would bring to their own material; there’s no cultural disconnect affecting Tikka and the Missing Hubcaps’ songwriting. They bring a classic rock sound to bear on this three song EP without ever sounding outright imitative; it’s no small feat for them to create a dialect of their own from those existing materials while never venturing too far afield from its established traditions.
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The title song begins Working Class Voodoo on an inspired note. It has a mid-tempo pace but nonetheless generates an impressive amount of energy thanks to its occasional slashes of electric guitar and an irresistible backbeat that gives the track additional oomph. Tikka takes on a slightly unusual vocal melody for the track that locks in tight with the arrangement and it serves to further highlight the song’s lyrical content. It is well written from top to bottom and the inclusion of pleasing vocal harmonies is a tasteful touch.
“Daytime Suffering” follows similar lines in regards to its pace and Tikka works an appreciable amount of harmonies into this track as well. They aren’t nearly as seamless as what we hear in the title song and have a feeling of being tacked on as an afterthought, but they don’t damage the song beyond repair. It’s powered by guitar, once again, and the drumming provides a well defined counterpoint for the six string. Tikka and the band take an instrumental break in the song’s second half that serves the composition rather than coming across as needless self indulgence.
The finale “What Is Love?” has a minimalist slant beginning the track as it begins with little more than Tikka’s voice and lightly distorted guitar. The full band takes over soon enough and it is clear Tikka and his bandmates are reaching for something closer to grandeur with this track rather than the customary pop gem. Despite attempting to scale greater heights than they did in the first two songs, “What Is Love?” doesn’t extend past the four minute mark and yet invokes cinematic effects missing from the preceding tracks. It’s an ideal conclusion to this brief release and reveals more of the band’s capabilities.
Tom Tikka isn’t a newcomer to the music world, but his music still retains the same exuberant embrace of creativity that you’d associate with debuting or emerging artists. The trio of songs included on Tom Tikka and the Missing Hubcaps’ Working Class Voodoo accomplishes more than some releases twice or three times as long thanks to the irrepressible passion and inspiration fueling each of its three songs. It’s short but, despite its brevity, well worth seeking out and enjoying over and over again. It reminds you rock music can come from anywhere and, despite what the naysayers say, is far from dead.
by Bethany Page