Ultra Zook - Epuz

5 songs
16:41 minutes
***** ****
(self released)


Zouk is a musical genre coming from the Caribbean islands, so the band name Ultra Zook made me expect the worst, but once their info sheet assured me that their music is less inspired by the islands of the Caribbean than Fukushima (which lies on the island of Honshu), I felt some interest creeping back inside of me.

Ultra Zook is a French three-piece consisting of a drummer, a keyboarder and a guitarist/bassist. While their songs are not really instrumentals, they still feel like it, as the vocals, co-shared by all three band members, feel more like another instrument than a provider of lyrics and content. But that should not distract you. If anything, this helps add to the general weirdness that we are facing in the presence of these crazy artists. Their music is definitely progressive, but not in a symphonic way. Instead there are close inspirational ties to the Rock in Opposition movement from the Seventies onward, with the elaborate insanity that one often encounters in Mike Patton’s post-Faith No More work.

The five songs are generally quite short, which prevents any tedium to arise. While the guitar work is of course ok, it pales compared to the other instruments. The drums are ultra-precise and full of jazzy verve. The bass guitar is driving along with a really cool rhythm, and best of all are the strange synthesizer sounds that may often squeeze like a helium-filled balloon, but still never cease to amaze with its strange staccato beats that from one moment to the next may just stretch to unexpected drawn notes. This may add a cartoonish touch, but within the general framework, it only increases the overall originality of this quarter hour long EP.

Two further EPs are planned for later on, and we can only hope that they will come out soon. My only regret with the spectacular Epuz is that the fun is over much too soon. Epuz is available on 12-Inch vinyl and as a digital download of 1 euro or more.

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