steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Things We Found: Bell & Broken Watch" CD

Feeding Tube Records

Genre: junk death

Amherst, MA

April 2010

A bell and a broken watch: two things randomly found, one of which is damaged. Not a bad allegory for what the curious listener encounters on ZEBU!'s wily litlte album. Things We Found sounds pieced-together and, frankly, a little all over the place; it jumps from battered junk-rock to gentle, fragmented melody to abrasive noisescapery without overt reason or rhyme, keeping its audience on the nubs of its toes throughout. It's the sort of disjointed chicanery that defines these folks as the convincing shit-disturbers that they are. You probably guessed as much from the exclamation point in their name.

Throughout Things We Found, the music continuously presents itself as distorted or destroyed -- be it the peaked-out and garbled recording equipment of "You Know It's Love When Your [sic] Making Love to a Corpse" and "Aspa Delpap Pah" or the tenuous, burned-out groove of "The Death Knell" parts one and two. I'll admit I'm somewhat more partial to those more accessible moments which rally around tuneful elements, keeping in mind that what qualifies as 'accessible' under ZEBU!'s iron fist still qualifies as being way off the deep end by most definitions. One of my favourite tracks is "Hair Down to Her Feet," which converts abstract vocals, dusty drums, and a simple guitar phrase into a gloriously warped jam cycle; here the band conveys a nihilistic, apocalyptic atmosphere without reverting to basement noise histrionics. Similar effects are achieved with "Hair Down to her Feet" and "Pain & Sorrow," both of which rank among the record's more memorable moments.

Admittedly, Things We Found can be a rough listen. There are times when it irks me considerably, and I won't pretend I'm earnestly grinning by the eight minute mark of "You Know It's Love When Your [sic] Making Love to a Corpse," whose cauldron of pedal noise, babbled vocals, and spasmodic percussion may have been better conveyed in half the duration. But ultimately, the way the band has set Things We Found up -- namely, maintaining a constant sense of on-the-brinkness with periodic descents into carnal chaos -- works. Just make sure you come prepared.

ZEBU!'s myspace

"The Death Knell 2":

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]