Zoo Harmonics – Business In The Front…Party In The Back

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Creating a flavoursome and captivating fusion of alternative and punk rock with a power pop vivacity, Israeli rockers Zoo Harmonics may not set the passions blazing but certainly with new album Business In The Front…Party In The Back, they leave a very healthy and hungry for more appetite in its wake. There are no major surprises within the sound and body of the release but equally there is plenty which is refreshingly inventive and individual to the Tel Aviv quartet to make them a compelling work in progress.

Written and recorded across 2012 with producer John Goodmanson (Blond Redhead, The Blood Brothers), Business In The Front…Party In The Back contains eleven tracks which roar and mischievously tease with accomplished invention and slightly warped imagination. It instantly and continually backs up the reputation the band has forged since forming through their live presence at home and across the UK and Europe. The band’s sound has been referenced to the likes of Bayside, Brandtson, No Use For A Name, and Lagwagon, something the album does confirm though we would suggest they are more akin to Russian punks/rockers Biting Elbows with a devilish squeeze of System Of A Down for good measure.

The album swiftly slams into ears and attention with Stemweder Open Air, the opener rife with scythes of acidic riffs across thumping rhythms ridden by the strong vocals of Dror Goldstein. It is potent and infectious bait which subsequently relaxes without losing its urgency and lure into a melodic shuffle with country twanged banjo. It is a mild twist though in the relentless stomp and energy of the song, the guitars of Goldstein and Ron Minis expelling catchy riffs and hooks whilst the bass of Tal Levi provides a great throaty tempting and enterprise. It is a song which dares feet and emotions to remain unaffected by its irrepressible contagion, something neither is able to do of course.

The great start is matched by Henry & Claire, another catchy web of spiky hooks aligned to anthemic rhythmic enticement from drummer Priel Horesh. Equally there is a melodic mellowness and warmth which has its say within the 10264299_512940428834136_3915992718798314287_ntrack’s otherwise riveting agitation of sound and ideation, everything combining for a second thrilling and potent anthem to put the pressure on the next up Awake At Night to emulate. Though it lacks the spark of the first pair, the song still strolls with an unrelentingly catchy and inviting countenance to capture ears and imagination before the slightly rawer presence of Ipek makes its play for attention. It is a strong and pleasing track but offering little to set it apart from the pack, unlike its predecessors. Nevertheless it is a thoroughly enjoyable tempting to feet and appetite just as its successor Bring Me Back, a pop punk canter with quickly accessible charm and energy cast in a less intensive presence which as the previous song, keeps the album’s party feistily alive.

The opening of Butterfly does not quite convince, guitar and vocal alone attempting to lure in the listener but once the band explodes with a blaze of sinew driven beats and fiery riffs, the track is a fiercely enticing proposition wrapped in the rich individual and group vocals of the band. It twists and flirts with intriguing ideation and open enterprise to make an enthralling and impressing imaginative offering, a triumph straight away matched by the excellent Club Sin(atra), a song with a loud whisper of Red Hot Chili Peppers, certainly to its entrance, and a feel of Smashmouth to its emerging creative tango.

On My Own launches its engrossing drama and ingenuity with immediate agitated relish. Its entrance charges into the passions with an urgent addictiveness lying somewhere between My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, before weaving and flirting with a stunning mesh of ideas and gripping adventure right up to its final note. The best track on the album, it leaves a lofty benchmark for the rest of the album to match and the band to emulate in their journey ahead.

All Amazing Songs takes the touch task to follow the peak in its stride and straight away forges its own heights, bass and vocals from an opening bright flame of sound, prowling with emotive tension and drama over thoughts and passions. It is a bewitching track with aggression and elegance all boiled up into another unpredictable and anthemic tempest. As the earlier mentioned Biting Elbows, Zoo Harmonics have the knack and ability to write and sculpt truly magnetically unpredictable and inventive songs just not on the same consistent level. What they can do with unrelenting skill is create attractive and infectious propositions as shown by their album and the final pair of songs. He Wishes He Knew is a radiant and melodically seductive croon which holds full reign over ears and emotions from start to finish whilst closer Romania is simply an addictive stomp regaling in the exploits of touring the source of its title.

Both make a varied and highly enjoyable finale to an album which from start to finish leaves a heavily satisfied pleasure in its wake and at times reaches heights which suggests that Zoo Harmonics has the skills and ingenuity to become a big inspiring player in global punk. As suggested surprises may be rare on Business In The Front…Party In The Back but fun and thrills are bulging assets of the album.

Business In The Front…Party In The Back is available via Pet Harmony Records now @ http://zooharmonics.com/?audio=business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back

http://zooharmonics.com/

RingMaster 14/10/2014

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Versus You – Moving On

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Since forming in 2005, Luxembourg’s Versus You has become one of Europe’s most captivating and hard- working pop punk bands, as well as the source of much anticipation when news of a new release comes to light. The release of new album Moving On has been no different in raising a keen appetite and equally does not detour from the band’s knack at providing a thoroughly enjoyable romp of punk rock at its most accessible and infectious. The album does not set a new trail for the genre or band come to that, instead it simply parades twelve songs which just do what Versus You does best, capture the imagination with virulent hooks and melodies whilst thrilling thoughts and emotions with superbly crafted and lyrically insightful songs.

With a decade of stirring up audiences and fans on the impending horizon, Versus You has kept the energy and passion of their presence and intent alone impressively high over the years. Renowned for their hunger to tour and take their sound to fans, the band has been a regular attack of gigs and tours across their homeland, as well as East and Western Europe, sharing stages with the likes of NOFX, Alkaline Trio, Rise Against, White Flag, The Casualties, Bayside, Jimmy Eat World and many more. Equally their previous trio of albums as well as EPs and an outstanding split release with White Flag, has thrilled and helped thrust the band to the fore of Europe’s punk scene, even with a spate of line-up changes especially in the sticks swinging department. Fourth full-length Moving on is another commanding and deeply satisfying proposition, as said not one to change the face of pop punk but easily reinforcing Versus You as one of the leading lights.

Produced by Chips Kiesbye, the album opens with the immediately rigorously coaxing When It All Goes Down, its initial scrub of guitar an intriguing irritant to awaken attention and appetite alike. The song is soon into a feisty stroll Versus You Moving On Packshot 960x960with the rhythms of drummer Jerry Kirpach punctuating the mesh of caustic riffs conjured by Eric Rosenfeld and Dario Bruno. It is not an unrelenting attack though, the song respectful in its aggression and open in its web of easily snagging hooks with the bass of Giordano Bruno adding its own throaty lure to add extra bait to the first easily addictive blaze of sound from the album. Lyrically the song is one of many looking at band life, whilst other Rosenfeld penned themes include traveling, making friends, relationships, and life’s issues, songs never afraid to deal with unexpected things directly.

The following If The Camels Die, We Die makes the strong start look like a mere appetiser, its eager energy and urgent enticement of catchy melodies and deeply hooking snares impressively catchy. The bass finds an extra snarl to its tone which hits the spot perfectly whilst the slightly grizzled vocals of Rosenfeld only add to the raw and honest edge of the encounter. The guitar designs also standout with their imagination within the narrow but full flight of the track, a success emulated and more by the next up A Way With Words. The song is a real pop song, its compelling power pop radiance irresistible to feet and voice. Essences of its sound remind of Good Charlotte and Smashmouth, these spices teasing thoughts pleasingly whilst around them riffs and rhythms cast a more sinew tempting to the potent revelry.

Both On The Town and Be Better Than Me gets the fire in the belly raging, the first a terrific stomp of grazing riffs cut across by flames of acidic melodies as the excellent vocals explore relationships. Its successor is a mellower enticement but no less riveting in its punchy beats and rock ‘n’ roll bred suasion which brings a touch of Pinhead Gunpowder as well as irresistible unpredictable twists and excellent additional female vocals to its glory. The pair push the rising stature of the album up another step, the first especially a highlight of the album with its dramatic air and ridiculously contagious incitement musically and lyrically. Their success is matched easily by Skinny And Distracted, roguish rhythms and stabbing hooks uniting for a Boxcar Racer like treat. At ease persistently changing its urgency and sinew built gait, the track is another anthemic coaxing impossible to resist joining in with but just as strongly brings new thought provoking adventure and imagination to its body.

One That Can See is a resourceful and adventurous romp for ears and emotions, though not finding the same heights as previous songs even with its appealing sonic endeavour, whilst Stay Down, Stay Strong also lacks that same passions igniting spark though it provides a fiery rock song which is as infectiously binding as it is evocatively coloured by a melodic rock intensity. Both tracks leave appetite and reactions well fed nevertheless before Kitchen-sink Drama leaves them bloated and blissful from its insatiably contagious and bruising stomp. There is an antagonistic and defiant edge to the song which emulates from the vocals and lyrics to inspire a strong drama and depth to its presence, whilst hooks and melodies complete the enslavement with masterful and instinctive invention.

30 Pills unveils another big highlight within the album, the provocative song themed around somebody being HIV positive. Hard hitting lyrically and musically, Rosenfeld alone bringing a deeper growl to his narrative, the track roars and incites yet still employs some of the juiciest hooks and melodically drenched chords to persistently inflame ears and emotions. It is a glorious strike leaving the final pair of Still I Persist and You Are My Friend a hard task to follow. They make valiant attempts though, the first a vigorously solid slab of muscle driven punk rock with passion fuelled intensity and the closing song a slower slice of punk balladry which with Green Day like melodic potency, brings a smouldering and evocative finale to greedily embrace. It is a fine end to a great album.

Moving On is arguably a release which delivers what you expect from Versus You without the band making great strides forward but with songs that simply fill every need and want of a pop punk enticement, and with plenty of extra thrills included, it is a release which simply leaves pleasure and contentment the overriding result and that is more than good enough to unreservedly recommend the album.

Moving On is available now on Bomber Music @ http://bombermusic.limitedrun.com/products/528789-versus-you-moving-on-cd-and-vinyl-lp-and-dl in download, CD, black vinyl, and Ltd Ed vinyl versions.

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8.5/10

RingMaster 21/07/2014

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