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Zazu - Zazu CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.05 | 18 ratings

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3 stars One-hit wonders without a hit. That's what Zazu is. They may not have hit it off back in the 70's and neither do they now, the odd 40 years later. In some aspects it is a shame, by others sort of logical and I'll tell you why, in a moment or two.

Some bands are truly eclectic, making the material feel cohesive, though the songs really are from different worlds and soundscapes. Supertramp hits it off, just as Queen do. They managed to make albums merging any genre into one beautiful mixture of original songs. I could bet the shirt off my back that Zazu tried to do the same, just not hitting the mark enough. I suppose it has all to do with subtlety and timing, really, and they missed it. Just.

The album kicks off with "Country eyes". A song with strong country-rock feeling. Not bad at all. Quite catchy, even. It doesn't make it, though, through the progressive eye of the needle. Nor does "Just friends", "Midnight train" or "Morning rain". These songs are all quite radio friendly pop songs, all too familiar with the sound of the mid 70's. They aren't bad. They are actually quite good for being country-rock, just not all that progressive. Not really.

The only tracks worthy of being hailed as progressive are "The island of Unisphere" and "Ittsanottasonatta, But It's Close". Both of them are really well crafted pieces of prog, with good keyboards and strong vocals. "The island of Unisphere" even boasts the word "wizard", which I find very appealing. Both of these tracks are four star-songs, without a doubt. I find it a shame they didn't explore the genre further. They obviously had the talent and ability. The choice of walking in a no mans land, not prog and not really country-rock/pop either, made them hard to categorize. Well, maybe that's true.

The sound of the album is a mixture of ELP, Supertramp, Camel, Chicago and sometime Zappa-ish. It is easy on the ears, pleasant and not bad. The problem comes when defining the album and rating it. Since there are only two tracks of prog (the rest being, as I've said, country-rock and/or pop) I find it difficult to rate the album any higher than three stars. It is a split experience. The pop or the prog. I'll stick with the prog parts and that is quite enough, being that the two tracks are really good. Pick them out and you've got yourself really interesting pieces of prog. Not exceptional or revolutionary, just really brilliant stuff. I wish they would have filled the entire album with such goodies...

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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