Zulus – Zulus II

Zulus - Zulus II

Zulus are a Brooklyn three-piece that “attempt[ed to be] a pop band… [but] have since proven clearly unable to write pop songs.”1 Zulus II is their sophomore (naturally) release playing the unique form of hardcore punk and garage rock mix that’s been popular the last decade. It’s out on New Jersey label Aagoo Records, whose catalogue includes releases by avant-garde jazz musician Colin Stetson and Italian old-school psychedelic group Inutili. It’s a short album at only nine tracks and twenty-one minutes; although Zulus II lacks in runtime, it owns in quality,  forsakes any filler, and favors full album listens.

Unlike similar artists on Castle Face or In The Red, Zulus do not derive their appeal from obfuscation. Noise is certainly a factor to Zulus’ songwriting – there’s so much amp they should call themselves André-Marie2 3 4 – but the production is exceptionally clean and audible; there isn’t anything in Zulus II that is confounded to the point of inaudibility. This single aspect sets Zulus apart from other bands in the hardcore/garage hybrid scene. The songs are memorable because the hooks are unobscured; and they’re good hooks, too, as demonstrated by “Medications” and “The City’s Vein.”5 Zulus II is enthusiastically recommended; if these three Brooklynites stay on their current course, then they’ll become an eminent force of indie garage rock upon Zulus III.

1. Revolver III – (1:48) – ★★★★★
2. Medications – (2:10) – ★★★★★
3. White Virgin – (1:50)- ★★★☆☆
4. Gemini – (4:48) – ★★★☆☆
5. Set Fire – (2:35) – ★★★★☆
6. Chemicals – (1:23) – ★★★★☆
7. Deep into the River – (2:31) – ★★★★☆
8. Screens – (1:46) – ★★★★★
9. The City’s Vein – (2:34) – ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★☆

[UPDATE 29 April 2016: Changed ratings on “Gemini” and “Set Fire” to three stars and four stars, respectively.]

1“Zulus II CD/LP/Mp3 – Aagoo Records,” Aagoo Records, accessed 19 November 2015, http://aagoo.com/zulus-ii-cdlpmp3/
2That’s the worst damn reference I’ve ever made.
3Seriously, that’s so bad. I shouldn’t publish that.
4The fuck is wrong with me?
5This is exactly why I cannot get on the hype train for Jay Reatard or Ty Segall. Encumbering fuzz and a hypersaturated discography do not make good listens.

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