‘Cross-rhythmic energy and swathes of psychedelica make for an incredible debut!’
Intro to Zulu:
For many new artists, the release of a debut track can be a case of testing the water and finding a way to establish a sound. However, in the case of 5-piece band Zulu featuring Fred Greaves, Harry Mackenzie, Harry McKenzie, Matt Mcloughlin and Daniel Langley, there is every chance they have found it right away. Releasing ‘How to Love’ earlier this month, this Merseyside quintet are already planning their next track, an EP release and aiming to have gigs across the country in 2020. Ambitious? Maybe. Achievable? Well if this is anything to go by, most definitely! Read more at: Behind the Music: Interview with Zulu.
Powerfully opening with a drum led introduction, the rhythmic centre of Zulu’s debut track is found instantly. Engaging you with the crossing hits of snare and high-hat it makes you want more and with the emergence of lightly dancing, psychedelic edged guitar lines it certainly delivers it. Balancing freedom and regularity, it’s an early sign of the beautifully accomplished sound offered throughout and with the arrival of the opening lines, this only gets strengthened.
Set to an accompaniment of dominant, yet delicate bass guitar, shuffle-esque drums and those effervescent guitar lines, the lyrics of ‘They say I’m hungry, I’m hungry for more’ connect with ease. Literally, and subliminally informing us how we should feel about the track, it’s encouragement that we don’t need. It is most welcomed though and with the mix of guitar hooks making their presence known, you hang on to every millisecond of what you’re hearing.
Likewise, with the pre-chorus, becoming synth centred and the complex drums switching to rhythmic rim-shots, space is given allowing the greater sense of reflection held within the vocals to really come through. However, reaching the chorus itself, the most wonderful of musical combinations occurs. Synth lines echo and emulate lyric phrase endings. Hectic and syncopated drums push the boundaries of rhythm and vocals sit within and above their surroundings. Each one delivering impressive musicality, it’s a delight.
Returning to the opening elements as the most appropriate link to the second verse, the enjoyment of and the joy they bring really hits home. Sure it’s not unusual for a great guitar riff to get stuck in your head. That’s exactly the point. But this is different. Different in the best possible way. Breaking all the rules, you find yourself urging your brain to remember every note and every inflection. That alone would make it an incredible listen, but aside from this, the sheer level of musicality in each aspect really shines through.
Bringing contrast – and more importantly ensuring there is no direct re-run of the first verse – the second sees both subtle and impactful changes occur throughout. Delicately reverb affected, the line of ‘What, do you mean, when you say it’s wrong’ comes across thought-filled, powerfully, and softly all at the same time. However, being much more forceful, the later phrase of ‘messed up one’ with the rhythmically unison accompaniment is completely dominating.
Given the subtlety right before, it does initially feel a little abrupt. However, in context and kick-starting us back to the delicately dancing familiarity, it’s a standout moment for all the right reasons. This said, the synth-led instrumental which follows this, the cross-rhythmic energy and the growing dominance ensures we love Zulu’s debut track right to the end.