ZX+ - Don't Drink The Water - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

ZX+ - Don't Drink The Water

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2015-08-20

Ex-Planets frontman, Stephen Evans returns with another infectious collection of skinny-tied power pop that drops the odd Ziggy-era Bowie influence amidst a gaggle of toe-tapping pogo-riff-ic tunes. You may recognize his new nom de group from previous appearances across several Fruits De Mer releases. This is his/their fifth full-length and if the others are anywhere near as catchy and chock-full of fun as this, we have a lot of catching up to do.

You’ll also have fun playing spotting the reference as Evans is obviously a big film buff (the opening track is a reference to the George A Romero classic The Crazies, which also just happens to be the name of two previous mini-albums released earlier this year). Roaming around within you’ll also grok nods to “Apocalypse Now”, Stephen King/Ramones, Edgar Allen Poe, and the Woody Allen-inspired title track (also referenced in the Romero film). Or maybe it’s just that I’ve seen too many movies and read too many horror stories!

Mary Joanna Coogan is on hand once again to add sexy, breathless backing vocals (‘Something Real’,) and frequent drummer Mark Coupe completes the lineup. But this is Evans’ trip and I’m glad I packed my bags. ‘Mud and Rubble’ is a short punky slice of pop that leads into an untitled respite, a pastoral piece of acoustic guitar whimsy that captures that retro-Summer of Love zeitgeist without prematurely ejaculating all over itself. Ditto to the wonderfully romantic, nostalgia-enducing McCartneyesque instrumental, ‘For Him Or Her’. If Balduin and Jacco Gardner are your coup of tea, pull up a chair and enjoy.

‘The Desert’ is Ennio Morricone on a surf board (with one might wipeout), ‘Just Like That’ is built around an old Bee Gees riff (and gets away with it), and Evans’ New Wavey ‘80s sensibilities imbues ‘Up and Down The Stairs’ with just the sort of power punk hooks that made The Boys one of my favourite bands. There’s a lot of hats to try on for size, but all of them fit me like a glove and if there’s any complaints on this end, it’s that all 13 tracks blaze by in half an hour. But then, so did all those Beatles albums! It’s not how much you have to offer, but what’s in the package that counts and this is one incredible surprise package of goodness.

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