Introducing the second offering from Zen Juddhism, an eclectic band, combining various influences and styles, resulting in a sound comprising multiple rock sub genres and crossover rock genres.
Better Not Wait – Lively drum and upbeat riff intro, quickly followed by some very striking Chrissy Hynes sound alike female vocals. In fact, it’s got a clear Pretender’s type sound and feel to it and is in its own way, a welcome deviation from standard rock fayre. More like pop rock, in essence, but very high quality, with a classy edge.
Stage Fright – Off on another tangent, there’s a Jamaican sense to this, with much more of a reggae rock slant. I keep expecting the man from Del Monte to make an appearance. A real rhythmic focus here.
A Murder Of Crows – Back to a typical rocky intro, but there’s a slight darkness to it, which is very visually stimulating. It’d fit well in the back room of a chilled out lounge rock venue. Lots of bass emphasis and a quieter mid-section; it reverts to a generic rock beat, with easy, effortless guest vocals from Steve Erida, forming the flow to the backdrop.
They Live – Those Pretendersesque feminine vocals are back, with a slow, smooth, relaxed pace, proving easy on the ears. Not the longest song, but plenty of upbeat bass involvement and a noticeable melody.
Hawaii Five – O – Opkar Hans guests as vocalist on this one. One thing all the vocalists have in common on this album is an easy listening, relaxed tone, blending the whole thing together well. There’s an unsurprisingly Hawaiian theme to this, providing a very pleasing backdrop and keeping the mood high.
Journey To The Centre – Now they’ve incorporated a grungy aspect, with a slight sci-fi element in the intro. Some may remember Marlene Rodriguez from the last release, who features again on this track. Spoken word section in the midst of things, alluding to the outcomes of reality TV and exhorting people to do something real with their lives. Really bluesy, melodic rhythmic riff section there, which stands out well, before the slightly dulled vocal tones return, to leave you with their message.
All Of It – Featuring Pammie Moore, this track moves away from the sound of the rest completely, featuring a violin section and finishing before you know where you are. It just isn’t long enough to be able to absorb it properly.
All Our Leaders – Going off in a new direction, resembling a protest song, with a folk rock leaning, but still retaining a gentle reggae rock atmosphere – it makes its point. A pleasant listen.
No-one Buys Music – Pammie Moore returns on vocals, emphatically railing against the ever present scourge of internet downloads and the subsequent loss of actual physical music sales. Point made well, in a gentle, listenable tone.
idk – Here, Marlene Rodriguez brings a trance element to proceedings, as she vocally mesmerises, as ever. The drums become more noticeable towards the end, but I’ve been too hypnotised by Marlene’s voice to notice much.
Purple Friend – Not quite sure what’s going on here, but it’s a mix of sung and spoken word, between shared male and female vocals, with more of a rap rock focus than anything else. It could just do with a bit more lyrical clarity, to reinforce the song’s meaning, as it just comes across like a dodgy acid trip, but otherwise, it’s a fair listen, with its strength lying in the melody.
Overall – An unusual production, with a combo of themes, sounds and crossover styles and forms, which could slot into various sub genres. More like an experimental project than an album with a clear destination, going in an obvious direction. Not one for the purists, but open-minded genre dabblers will be in their element. If nothing else, it’s consistently uplifting, making it good to zone out to.
For fans of combination rock genres, reggae rock, rap rock, blues, jazz, continental rock, soul rock and R&B.