September 13, 2003

Zuzu's Pedals "Zuzu's Pedals"

First things first: this is not the same band as the early 90s punk band on Twin/Tone. I'll admit that I was extremely excited at the prospect of a new Zuzu's record, but was disappointed upon learning that this trio was not that well-loved trio. It's okay, though; I disappoint frequently, so my rebound time from such a thing is quite quick.Good news, though: Zuzu's Petals are pretty cool. They're young and new and still working on determining their voice, but there are quite a few hints as to the direction of their next musical step

On first listen, it's quite obvious that they've got a goal to make a bigger, bolder, more atmospheric sound. Even though they don't quite reach the heights that they've got in mind--probably due to budget constraints, truth be told--you just get the feeling that Zuzu's Petals want to really, really explode in a wall of sound and melody, yet they don't quite know how to go about doing it--or simply cannot afford it right now. Songs like "Lost & Found" and "Venus, Maybe Mars" sound like demos that are a session or two away from having an orchestra overdubbed to make the grander. Lucky Lew, an associate of the esteemed Grandaddy, helped out with Zuzu's Petals, and I wouldn't be surprised if Grandaddy is the direction that the Petals want to go.

Secondly, Zuzu's Petals are young. I don't know how much they've played out, but their sound leads me to believe that they've not performed out much at all. While their musicianship is top-notch, time and experience is going to be a really, really good for the Petals, and I have a feeling that the differences between this first record and their next will be great. Lead singer Steve Charbonneau already has a really strong singing voice, but with a bit of time, and a few road trips under his belt, that voice of his is going to be even more powerful. Same thing with the rest of the band. They're pretty darn good now, and a little workin' out will make them even tougher.

Still, I can't muck about Zuzu's Petals. If anything, it's a nice little snapshot of a band who, given a little bit of time and some maturity, could easily make an excellent rock album. I also have a feeling that this pretty good debut will be seen as weak and inferior a few years (and albums) from now. Personally, I can't wait for that moment in time where I can revise my opinion of this record.

---Joseph Kyle

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