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Zoo Zero - Zoo Zero

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 14 / 10 / 2013

Zoo Zero - Zoo Zero
Label: Zoo Zero
Format: CD


Inventive and confident debut mini-album from London-based alternative rockers, Zoo Zero

Zoo Zero’s eponymous debut has an interesting back-story. The group turned down management interest and distribution deals in order to retain full control of their music, and have teamed up with Scott Knapper (engineer to, among others, Scott Walker and Van Der Graaf Generator) to create an album “where noise and weirdness clashes with melody.” The album opens with ‘Fraktion’, a story of Marxist terrorism with an epic and cinematic instrumental stretching it out to seven minutes. Instrumentally, the song begins as a throbbing, bass-driven rocker with feedback-drenched guitar buried just low enough in the mix to keep it from slipping into grunge territory. The backbone of the track is Christian Saneto’s superb bass and Matthew Barnes’ sublime drumming. Three minutes in, the song opens up into a vista of echoes and twangs, building space perfectly before re-energising towards a real ball-burster of a finale. Second track, ‘Moon Communique’, is possibly the most mainstream track on the album, and, to me, it suffers because of it. Despite a great guitar hook, the track is just a little too safe for my taste, a little generic. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s a good track, it’s just not as experimental and challenging as the rest of the album. The album gets back on track with ‘Show Me Your Flag’, another bass-driven rocker. Melodically, the track is inventive and the guitar drone is fantastic. Few bands can throw in a change of tempo as nonchalantly as Zoo Zero do here, which is much a credit to the rhythm section as it is to the song’s composers. Penultimate track ‘Oryx’ is, for me, the highlight of the album. With yet another challenging tempo and the best vocal on the album, the track is supremely engaging and an absolute joy to listen to. Shades of Nirvana mix with flavours of Can to produce a highly original blend of high energy and superb musical craft. Zoo Zero is a confident and ballsy debut from a band whose musical ability is evident throughout the seven tracks. Make no mistake, these boys can play. For me, though, the one weakness in the band lies with vocalist Tom Pinnock. He’s a fair singer, and certainly better than a great many who “make it,” but I feel that the vocals somehow diminish the band’s sound as a whole. Musically, though, Zoo Zero are superb: confident, skilful and inventive.

Track Listing:-
1 Fraktion
2 Moon Communique
3 Show Me Your Flag
4 Double Cross
5 Stationed
6 Dnalsi
7 Oryx
8 Spinning Pretty

Band Links:-

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