Unveiled on the back of three singles which certainly raised an eager appetite for its appearance, Wired the debut album from electronic pop band Ed Zealous easily confirms and reinforces all the promise and radiant enterprise brought from those early releases. The February 3rd released ten track album is a feisty adventure of energetic electro/ dance enterprise and guitar crafted indie pop, a record soaked in a busy sound seemingly seeded in eighties electronic endeavour yet constantly taunting and careering thrillingly through the ear with a modern rock rapaciousness. Arguably the sound of the Belfast quartet is not breaking in new ground to explore but there are few others striding confidently down the same interpretative path of already discovered invention as this richly promising and powerfully enjoyable band.
Consisting of vocalist Steve McAvoy, guitarist Andrew Wilson, bassist Pete Lloyd, and drummer Paul Irwin, Ed Zealous as mentioned has stirred up very potent attention and anticipation for their album through the trio of singles released in 2013. One by one Medicines, Thanks A Million, and Telepaths have washed creative juices around the passions to breed a hunger for Wired, an appetite the album feeds with ease and more. Forging emotively fuelled synths with fiery guitar temptation within a rhythmic punch which never relinquishes its addictive bait whilst drawing on influences which come from the likes of David Bowie, Talking Heads, Pulp, and TV On The Radio the band look set to make 2014, like the last, another year to mark a rapid ascent in their striking emergence. Predominantly recorded with engineer Rocky O’Reilly with additional production by Eliot James (Bloc Party, Noah and The Whale and Does It Offend You, Yeah?), Wired is an exhaustive magnetic party of creative rampancy and contagious adventure; not necessarily ripe with pure originality but undeniably bulging with excitement and riveting imagination.
As soon as the opening suspenseful drama of 147 hits the ear you sense there is something special brewing. Synths lure in the imagination right away before the song settles into a mellow yet intensive persuasion with thumping rhythms and moody dark tones puncturing the electronic wash. It is an instantly engaging and provocative encounter but one which goes more directly for the passions once the guitars and bass temptation strides and erupts across the song around the expressive enjoyable vocals of McAvoy. At times unashamedly anthemic and constantly stirring up the imagination with a melodic craft which helps fuel an already hungry appetite for the release, the track is an urgently persuasive introduction to the album setting a high bar for it to maintain.
Something it definitely does with the following Thanks A Million, the one song on the album recorded with producer Rich Jackson. As soon as its initial melodic narrative wraps around the ear followed by a lush groove, there is a familiarity to the song which only pleases and takes thoughts to eighties electronic pop essences. A definite Thomas Dolby feel emerges with the senses wrapping synth imagination yet equally you are reminded of the current sounds of James Cook and Does It Offend You, Yeah? whilst the track sculpts its own identity to devour eagerly. A track which manages to impress immediately and also slow burn its way deeper into the emotions over time through its big bruising bass tones and gripping melodic coaxing, it is dark temptation immersing the ears in a sizzling evocative wash.
The devilishly infectious Medicines steps up next to deepen the lure of the album, its Blancmange like electro pop excitement and bordering on wanton energy insatiably seductive whilst the infection clad chorus and vocal call only grips satisfaction tighter for a lingering and compulsively addictive encounter. Recent single Telepaths breathes the same contagion as its predecessor, guitar and synths driven by outstanding vocals luring senses and feet to a feverish submission for the raucous electro rock party. Both tracks continue the high range of peaks established by the album and light the fuse to even greater suspicions as to how good and successful Ed Zealous could become.
I Will Destroy You is a perfectly placed track, its melodramatic and emotive textures aligned to a slower gaited temptation exploring new depths and enterprise within the band and their songwriting. Though not as immediate to persuade as those before, the song enslaves keen attention for its thoughtful shape and evocative hues and allows a breath to be taken whilst it’s subtle and inventive majesty works its way into the imagination. The following Talk With Your Hands also takes time but with its David Byrne like creative swagger and heavy rhythmic caging it also secures full satisfaction and hungry attention over numerous exploits.
There is something infuriately familiar to the start of Diamonds For Eyes yet it evades definition even after plenty of adventures with the dancefloor hugging track whilst These Words reaps those eighties influences yet again as its magnetic body inspires thoughts of China Crisis. Both songs stretch and add to the fascination of Wired with skill and mischievous flair before making way for the outstanding Videohead, a track which emerges as the favourite here. Adding an electro punk element to its fuzzy electronic flaming, the song is like a mix of Calling All Astronauts, B-Movie, and at times the John Foxx led Ultravox, the band again bringing a touch of nostalgia into a more aggressive modern exertion and invention. It is an enthralling and addiction causing maelstrom of ideas and sonic sculpting brewed into a contagious provocation of epidemic proportions.
Completed by the funk ripped It’s Only The End, a song which you feel would ignite the dancefloor of any era such its blend of irrepressible decade crossing melodies and electronic virulence, Wired is an exceptional first album from Ed Zealous, one which impresses right away and only increases its strengths and stature over time. This is a band you can see creating new boundaries for electronic pop ahead and becoming a well-worn name over time.
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