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Zico Chain - Food

  by Paul Raven

published: 8 / 12 / 2007

Zico Chain - Food
Label: Hassle Records
Format: CD


Convincingly aggressive and fast-paced rock on second album from UK alternative rockers, the Zico Chain

Okay, folks, take a screenshot and save it to show your kids – here's a music reviewer admitting he missed the boat. How the hell did Zico Chain slip under my radar ? It's not like they're a stealthy package, by any means. 'Food' is eleven tracks of blazing high-paced rock action, the sort of thing that roars out of radios and stereos like an angry horde of demons, stomping your furniture to bits before running off with your beer stash and the contents of the fridge. From the rolling fuzzy bassline that opens the album into the big stoner riff and a crashing cymbals of 'Pretty Pictures', right through to the feedback mantra outro of “Anaemia”, there's no compromise of pace or energy whatsoever. This isn't one of those albums with three killers and lots of filler; the quality is consistent all the way through. So is the style – but defining that style is a tricky proposition. Zico Chain have seemingly taken all the best bits of the last twenty-five years of rock music and mixed it up into chunky cocktail of sleazy glamour and muted aggression. There's a bit of everything in here: the dark spit-flecked fury and muttering of grunge; the high-speed hooks of late nineties alternative; the bright melody and catchy structures of stadium cock-rock. But it's not a collage job; all the elements are blended together into a coherent sound that's all action – and all Zico Chain. The sound is spot on, too; guitars nice and thick, but still capable of carrying a proper tune, with the chords and lead lines nicely balanced and working with the rhythm section instead of against it. Chris Glithero's vocals are the icing on an already satisfying slice of cake, ranging from rough growls to strained and wrenched groans with seemingly no effort at all. Next time someone tells you proper rock bands can't write and deliver pop tunes, play them the album's title track. If they tell you it again, punch them in the nose. It's a rare find – a band that can do convincing rock aggression while retaining the sort of accessibility and memorable hooks that can spread the word beyond the ghetto walls of a single genre. And there's no sense of falseness, either – no posturing, no irony, no knowing smugness. 'Food' is a rock album, plain and simple – it's everything that Velvet Revolver's 'Contraband' tried to be, but fell sadly short of. Which is great news from where I'm sitting, but it may prove to be a double-edged sword. The industry struggles to market bands effectively when they can't find a movement to place them in, and Zico Chain's huge variety of touchstone influences make them hard to bracket. With any luck, they'll be picked out as the flagship of a new movement instead, but it'd be much nicer to see them simply propelled to success on their own merits rather than nebulous terms of convenience. The other danger of releasing a rip-roaring début rock album is having to follow it up, but that's a bridge they can cross when they get to it. In the meantime, there's plenty of work to be done for Zico Chain on the live circuit off the back of this release – I wouldn't be surprised to see them on a number of second-stage line-ups for next year's festival season, and well deserved. A great album that takes the year out with a blast.

Track Listing:-
1 Pretty Pictures
2 Where Would You Rather Be?
3 Last Weeks Genius
4 Junk
5 Roll Over
6 Preach
7 No Hoper Boy
8 Your Favourite Client
9 Nihilism
10 All Eyes On Me
11 Anaemia
12 Rohypnol
13 Brain

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Where Would You Rather Be ? (2007)
Distinctive-sounding, but flawed new single from the much acclaimed Zico Chain who have toured with the Alkaline Trio and Wolfmother

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