Continuing our developing theme of international punk-rock bands, we bring you Israel’s Zoo Harmonics, whose debut album, Business In The Front… Party In The Back is due for release via Pet Harmony Records on October 13th. The first of the band’s work to be released in the UK, the record was recorded in Seattle (at the same studios as Nirvana used), and with an upcoming stream of dates in Europe, this release is set to take the world by storm.
Opening Stemweder Open Air welcomes the album in a typical (but not cliched) punk-rock style – fast, solid backing and clear vocals – before being joined by the sort of music you’d expect from a Texas-Western escape scene; rapid, high guitar. This ebbs away to leave an instrumental that doesn’t seem to fit quite perfectly to the lyrics, though for the most part, each line is supported with a gusto of instrumental at the end. This half tight/half eclectic sound makes for a lot to take in and nothing sounds quite as you’d expect. At just over two minutes, this short intro becomes a standard for track on this record, each one a short burst.
Hanry And Clare upholds a relatively consistent backing throughout, but the switch between dead-pan and melodic vocals creates a constantly changing sound, and at only a few minutes long, the track seems to have stopped before it even got started. Awake At Night is the most recent release off the album, and it’s clear to see why the track was chosen; the most accessible off the record, this track boasts opportunities to sing along, and a relaxing close with delicate vocals to contrast the more full-on tracks of the record.
ipek includes more than a few fantastic opportunities for guitar solos, and a dramatic switch between loud, out-there vocals and more gentle ones creates a method of continuing to add a twist to the album, especially with such a striking close – words do no justice, this is a must-listen. Bring Me Back makes for being one of the longer tracks off the album, with a soft intro building up to Blink-esque riffs and muffled vocals staggered with hollow percussion. The meatiest track off the album, this is a tune to sink your teeth into.
A few bars of stripped-back guitar riffs welcome Butterfly, before almost-whispered vocals join a melody and the whole things racks up to the climatic shouting of “I’m a butterfly / I can touch the sky”. Granted, not the most complex lyricism, but the sheer force emitted with the lines creates a need to join in, before dropping for a few seconds to something akin to the opening of The Cardigans – Losers. The force picks up again, to return to a gentle close to match the track’s beginning. An electric opening to Club Sin(atra) adds a new edge to the record, with the control of the track switching between that and the dominant rockier side.
On My Own continues the similar pattern; heavy, prominent riffs mix with clear vocals a little eccentrically to creates catchy hooks and infectious refrains, before launching head-first into All Amazing Songs. The chaotic instrumental of this track makes a perfect song for circle pits and general live show madness, before a slow instrumental middle eight accompanies hauntingly quiet lyrics, “I want to lose the will to live / I want to lose it all”. The track closes with a new harshness and rage, before dropping off suddenly.
Penultimate He Wishes He Knew stakes its claim as not only the longest, but also the most acoustic track off the album, layered vocals creating a clear surround-sound effect and the simplistic guitar guiding the track. Slowly and deliberately telling a story of “he”, this song feels almost like a journey, far away from the overpowering punk from the preceding tracks, before closing Romania lasts scarcely a minute and creates a hectic, percussion-mad close to the album, that stands at only a touch over half an hour.
If you’re up for some experimental/eclectic punk, this is an album you’ll be damned to avoid, with all the tried and tested punk-rock features meshed with some edgier sounds to create half and hour of excellence.