Album Reviews

ZZ Top – Texicali Review

Released By : Self-Released

Genre : Blues Rock

Link : http://www.zztop.com

 

Lineup:

Billy Gibbons – Vocals, Guitar

Joe Michael Hill – Vocals, Bass

Frank Lee Beard – Drums

 

Tracklist:

01. I Gotsta Get Paid

02. Chartreuse

03. Consumption

04. Over You

 

ZZ TOP’S upcoming new album is one of the most anticipated rock albums of the year and in the general blues rock circle it’s the most important release of the decade. Maybe it’s a little unfair to heap so much pressure on a band that has been idle for quite a while and much older than they were in their prime, but seeing as though they are classed as one of the stalwarts of an entire genre and a direct influence to so, so many bands I guess it’s fair enough.

In the meantime the bearded (and beard-less Mr. Beard), sunglass-clad original cool dudes from Texas have offered up a four track teaser E.P just to whet everybody’s whistle. In an interesting foot-note the band have teamed up with master producer Rick Rubin for the first time in their career…A move that could either prove masterful or a total disaster depending on how it all turns out. One thing that you have to give Rubin credit for is that he always manages to make reformed bands sound much like they used to even though he always adds a sort of modern sheen to everything he does. The first positive for long-time fans of the band is that the general vibe here is reminiscent of the earlier ZZ TOP feel and shy’s away from the pop-ish feel of the band’s mid-eighties output. But, of course with that trademark Rick Rubin modern-sheen which does two things equally…Firstly it makes the band sound fuller and punchier than they ever have, and I wouldn’t mind at all if they let Rubin do some remastering of their older material. The other thing it does though is take away that slightly gritty, bikie-bar sound that really gave the band an edge in the early days that other groups couldn’t get near. Overall though, stylistically, Aurally and Sonically the E.P is pretty darn good and enough to consider the ZZ TOP/Rick Rubin partnership a success.

What about the songs though….. Well the opening track GOTSA GET PAID is actually the weakest of the lot. It’s a different sound for the band that almost incorporates what you might call Texas Redneck Rap. Not a big fan of the dirty, hole-in-amplifier sound on the guitars here either, and is that Joe Bonamassa I hear on the backup vocals?…Probably not but gee it sounds like it. CHARTEUSE is classic TOP all the way, basically bringing back the main riff and key formation from TUSH. Maybe a little lazy in theory but the execution is the best the band has sounded in a long, long time. CONSUMPTION follows suit and is a great album track, hopefully representing the quality of what’s to come. Surprisingly the highlight here for me though is a song that actually sounds not much like ZZ TOP at all. For starters it’s a ballad!!! Yup, OVER YOU is the closest the TOP have ever come to ballad material, but it ain’t no love song though, it’s more a sad blues song. Sound wise it reminds me a lot of Tom Waits when he is singing rather than growling about the place, and also has similarities to a song called JUST ANOTHER LOVE SONG that was released a little while ago by Tyla J. Pellas, vocalist of The Dogs D’amour.

The E.P has done for me exactly what it was meant to do…Made me both very keen and also quite curious to see just how ZZ TOP sound in the full album format. No official release date has been set so far, but sources are all saying sometime soon….Let’s hope so, I can’t wait!

 

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 8/10

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