Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Review: New Zero God – 'Short Tales & Tall Shadows'

'Short Tales & Tall Shadows'

Greek post-punks New Zero God will not be a new name to a lot of people. They have over the past few years been working hard and the early spirit of the post punk and proto-gothic scenes alive. The band's last studio outing was 'MMXIII' which provided a solid offering of tracks that were only really held back by less than perfect production. Fast forward to last year and the band's first live album showed them on top form giving their songs a fervent energy and playing off the rough and ready atmosphere. But their latest album 'Short Tales & Tall Shadows' is a bit of a departure. Their punk roughness is smoothed out in favour of gothic theatrics. A move that is reminiscent of when The Damned made 'Strawberries'.

The band blend gothic rock, psychedelic pop, a hint of their post-punk past and a dose of dark blues, the end result is like a cross between The Damned and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. Songs such as 'King Pest The First', 'Garden Of Mazes', 'Cloud Of Dreams', 'My Reaper', and 'Bastards' are the most consistent examples of this sonic formula and also lyrically the most literary in construction. While the likes of the spoken word 'Deadly Dollhouse' and the sinister instrumental outro 'Ouroboros' add a nice experimental edge to the proceedings.

In terms of production this is by far the band's best effort so far. It has a nice retro, mid-1980s feel to it. But in terms of the mix and the overall sound it is still fresh and modern. They have maintained their grittiness through their individual performance but aimed high and improved the quality as a result.

This is the album the band have needed to make. The gothic and psychedelic elements are fantastic. Mike Pougounas' vocal performance is utterly compelling and there are a lot of sumptuous guitar lines and grooves throughout to get your teeth into. The band have made a bold move with 'Short Tales & Tall Shadows' and it has paid off in a big way. The songwriting, the performances and the execution are spot on. Hopefully this will be a path the band continues to explore moving forward.   

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