April 12, 2005

ZZZZ "Palm Reader"

Remember Sweep the Leg, Johnny? Sure, their records were kinda noisy, but their live show was insane. It was always a bit of a shame that they never quite captured their live show's intensity--or their sense of fun. Through the sheets of noise and the sea of bored-looking hipsters, their alto sax-driven fun always made the night enjoyable. Even though Sweep the Leg, Johnny broke up, sax man Steve Sostak hasn't lost his desire to make fun, energetic music that's specially built for a live audience.

That's certainly true with Palm Reader. ZZZZ certainly wastes no time in setting down the fun-time vibe, with the upbeat gypsy dance number "Assassination Polka." Invoking the sounds of a rogue bunch of happy rogues, ZZZZ starts off with a fun vibe--and the band never loses its energy; as they travel from the funky "Snowball" to "Bandit King & Queen" to the final jam of "Buncerto," you wonder when they're going to stop for air. The boy/girl vocal interplay gives the music a real nice feel, too, but, really, the record doesn't seem to be about making a lyrical statement as much as making a really great groove. Indeed, at times their sound reminds of great bands like Drums & Tuba, World/Inferno Friendship Society, Brave Combo, Gogol Bordello, Spaceheads and The Coctails, but their sound is all their own.

If ZZZZ had anything to improve on, it would be on working on making each song a little more distinctive. When they flow together like they do on Palm Reader, the record sometimes feels a bit too connected, decreasing the overall intensity of each song. Still, that's a minor flaw for a generally awesome record, and it's a safe bet that this too will change with maturity. Still, Palm Reader is never too heavy, never too boring, and it will keep you on your feet--and dancing, too! The groove cannot be denied, and it's probably a safe assumption to say that their live show is 100 times more electric than the songs found here--which means, of course, that you shouldn't pass on seeing this band live!

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.zzzzmusic.com
Label Website: http://www.polyvinylrecords.com

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