Ultra Zook - Epuzz

5 songs
15:13 minutes
***** ****
Gnougn / Human Feather


Last year, French trio Ultra Zook set out to release a series of three EPs on twelve inch vinyl and digital downloads. While the former will one day become collectors’ items, the latter stood out by their affordable price. The second EP Epuzz can now be purchased as a one euro or more download, and its predecessor Epuz has been downgraded to a pay what you want purchase. Now that’s what I call customer friendly.

The debut was rated here with nine points, and while this has not changed for Epuzz, it has to be said that the band has improved quite a little in the nine months since the first part of the triptych. Back then the silliness factor was still very elevated, and while the new material is still able to conjure a smile on your face, the fun has been better integrated into the band’s crazy amalgam of genres that comprise the weirdest influences from rock in opposition, 8-bit electro, punk and math rock. It’s the Cardiacs who coined the term “pronk” as a shortcut for progressive punk, and this could also apply to Ultra Zook. Their music owes to the wackiness of the aforementioned British cult band, to the absurd seriousness of Frank Zappa, to the retro-futurism of Devo and of course to the abstract compositional skills of Henry Cow. Throw all of these bands together, and you can maybe imagine a little what Ultra Zook are all about, although the best way is to listen for yourself to believe their sonic creations.

As on the debut, the songs are mostly short and played on drums, bass and keyboards. I don’t think I heard a guitar this time, but the band hired the services of a saxophonist on the two tracks Pisote! and Aluminium C4, both of which therefore come with a strong jazz vibe that also works very well for the band. The vocals are once again sparse and electronically treated, giving them a high pitched, cartoonish note that perfectly fit the strange music.

I am not lying when I am writing that I am already looking forward to the final instalment of the series, and I am probably no clairvoyant when I am guessing that it will be called Epuzzz. Then we can finally string them together to be able to listen to these crazy Frenchmen for three quarters of an hour, and maybe afterwards they might even treat us with a regular longplayer. But until then I can only recommend you their newest effort Epuzz which is a great statement for a band in constant evolution.

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