ZEBRAS - Zebras

Zebras - Zebras

11 songs
31:19 minutes
***** ****


Good things often come from the most unexpected places. New York, Los Angeles and Chicago may be the most obvious American cities for new artists to emerge, but Zebras chose to come from Madison, Wisconsin. It may be hard nowadays to come up with something new in the ever growing music jungle, but this band tries nonetheless with what they have labelled moog metal. Formerly a quartet, which can be heard on the second half of the album, they decided to continue without a bass player, a courageous decision that pays off surprisingly well on the first half of the album. The musicians are all quite hyperactive on their instruments, with the guitars delivering a fully distorted sound, the drummer filling perfectly well with his kinetic beats, but best of all is their female keyboarder who plays moog and other kinds of analogue synthesizers. In many contemporary bands, relying on vintage instruments turns out to be just a stale gimmick, but Ms Lacey Smith definitely knows how to coerce the most magnificent sounds out of her gear.

On the surface, Zebras’ music feels like Nineties noise rock the way it was done by bands signed to Amphetamine Reptile and Alternative Tentacles, but closer attention shows that they do with their very own means. The vocals are fiercely high and close to hysterical, and splendidly match the angular, unpredictable music. At times one might feel reminded of Jello Biafra with a more psychedelic outlook. This debut album may border on the short side with its half hour length, but the non-stop quality make for some great listening experience. Considering that this is only their first longplayer, one can hope for many further deeds to follow in the future. But until then, this eponymous album is an exquisite way into the demented, sonic universe of these crazy Wisconsinites. Fans of noise rock should be amazed that it is possible to still lure new elements from a genre that started more than two decades ago.

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