Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Zeus: "Busting Visions" (album review)

In 2009 Toronto's Zeus stepped up and made one of the best, most straight ahead rock rock records of that year.  On March 27th the band return with their sophomore album, Busting Visions.

They take a slightly different tact on the new album.  This record is an unabashed homage to the classic rock of the late '60s and early '70s.

The vocal harmonies are the most obvious nod.  Tunes like "Love In A Game", "Stop The Train", and the laid back "Let It Go, Don't Let It Go" owe a big debt of gratitude to late-era Beatles records.

The album kicks off with the single "Are You Gonna Waste My Time?".  That track is a breezy number that channels '70s AM stoner rock hits like "Radar Love".

A Neil Young-style riff opens "Anything You Want Dear".  The short instrumental "Bright Brown Opus" is equal parts arena rock and rock opera. The harmonies are warped by some mildly trippy psychedelia on "Love/Pain".  The swirl and propulsive pace of "With Eyes Closed" immediately evokes comparisons to The Zombies' hit "She's Not There".

Busting Visions isn't strictly a retro record though.  There are many modern elements that Zeus incorporates. The smooth falsetto of "Proud And Beautiful" is reminiscent of Beck's soulful "Deborah".  "Strong Mind" takes the age-old handclap sound and makes it compete with a swelling guitar squeal, making for transcendent experiment.  That experiment is repeated to a lesser degree on "Cool Blue (And The Things You Do)".

Classic rock is a genre that gets little love among the Internet music community.  It's interesting to hear a band with the pedigree of Zeus give a tip of the cap to the style and modernize it.  Maybe this will lead to a run on Grass Roots records.

Best tracks: "Strong Mind", "With Eyes Closed"

Track listing for Busting Visions:
  • Are You Gonna Waste My Time?
  • Love/Pain
  • Anything You Want Dear
  • Let It Go, Don't Let It Do
  • Strong Mind
  • Bright Brown Opus
  • Love In A Game
  • With Eyes Closed
  • Hello Tender Love
  • Messenger's Way
  • Proud And Beautiful
  • Stop The Train
  • Cool Blue (And the Things You Do)
  • Now That I've Got You

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