A Carnival of Meat and Shiny Objects
When alto sax player Steve Sostak lost both of his bands, Sweep the Leg Johnny and Check Engine, he did not lose heart. Rather, he opted to start a new band cloaked in mystery and cartoon-ish mayhem. ZZZZâ€šÃ„Ã´s debut Palm Reader will not let you even think of going to sleep, despite what their thought-bubble name would suggest. The music is interesting to say the least, sounding like a mixture of the soundtracks for the movies Titus and Delicatessen; theatrical, cracked out high school Jazz Band blended with 80â€šÃ„Ã´s New Wave on acid, punk-y yet folks-y in nature, all tempered with a Debbie-Harry-like female singer who sing-speaks in unison with an equally surreal male singer. The sound is discordant and brash, with intricate drum lines, as in â€šÃ„Ãº2nd Hand Smokeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and eerie Cirque du Soleil parallels, as in â€šÃ„ÃºBandit King and Queenâ€šÃ„Ã¹. It has also been equated in several reviews/press releases to the work of Danny Elfman (responsible for many of Tim Burton’s soundtracks). As strange and repelling as those comparisons may be for some, it is actually attractive and inviting, like some weird carnival of midgets, leather, shiny objects, gypsies and dancing lumps of raw meat put together solely for those who arenâ€šÃ„Ã´t repulsed.
Palm Reader is one of those rare albums that only come around once in a while; while other bands claim to have invented new kinds of music, ZZZZ has actually done just that. The music on this album cannot be placed into any one genre. It crosses between so many worlds and brands of electronic wonderment that it can only be considered as the music of ZZZZ.