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Frank Zappa - Zoot Allures CD (album) cover

ZOOT ALLURES

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.70 | 267 ratings

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The Quiet One
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Not Quite Alluring Actually...

Zoot Allures is another solo album by Frank in which the quality of it overall can be questioned if it's really Zappa who composed all this. On this album Frank, unfortunately, decided to play most of the instruments in most of the songs, with the exception of the drums which are played by Terry Bozzio all-through. So do not expect a tight band or even a ''band'' at all. Despite all of that, Zoot Allures still is mentioned in the time of recommending Zappa albums

With Over-Nite Sensation, Zappa decided to choose a more rock-oriented path however still including jazzy leanings and a very tight band. Well, Zoot Allures is when Zappa decided to get rid of the jazzy touches and the complex song-writing. That left just the rock substance around with his amazing guitar abilities.

So Zoot Allures is almost in it's entirety filled with plain simple rock songs, beginning with the intro track, Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station, which is a boring repetitive rock song. The addition of annoying vocalists makes it even worse; a feature which Zappa will heavily use in future late 70's and early 80's releases

Then there's Ms. Pinky, Find Her Finer and Wonderful Wino which have a very catchy chorus as well as rhythm, yet they´re very simple songs for Zappa standards. Incredibly enough, Zappa knows how to do some very enjoyable mainstream songs, which is another thing which surprises me even more about this genius.

The final song of the album, is another stinker as the opener, called Disco Boy. Another rock based song with again some annoying vocals which drag down most of the song. The structure once again is simple and by no means entertaining for the Zappa fan who enjoys his classic unique stuff, however those who enjoy Sheik Yerbouti and his early 80's albums might get a better kick out of these comical songs.

Obviously the reason why Zoot Allures is recommended is not because of that side of the album, if not the remaining tunes which have Frank's one-of-a-kind guitar style glowing in three different ways. Black Napkins having Zappa's unmatchable note-selection which is truly sublime.

Then there's Friendly Little Finger. Zappa on this tune offers a more ferocious approach with heavier bites leaving place also to Bozzio.

Finally there's the very promising title track. It's a terrific instrumental which once again showcases Zappa's capability on the guitar but also shows his capability as a composer, something this album was lacking. A very delicate tune, which unfortunately leaves a bit to desire since it only lasts 4 minutes.

The Torture Never Stops is the only track I've still haven't mentioned and that's because it doesn't belong either to the straight-forward comic rock or the solo spots of Frank's guitar. However, that doesn't mean it belongs to the complex jazzy stuff of Frank neither his wacky avant-garde stuff. Actually, The Torture Never Stops is an odd song by Frank in which the composition while it lasts 10 minutes, it's purely based on a very simple rhythm made by Terry's drums and Frank's bass. But it's such a grabbing rhythm with simple but fitting keyboards plus Frank's spooky voice, you really can't stop listening to it. Great long simple rock song, which doesn't seem long at all.

Conclusion: A very accessible Zappa album that's for sure. This is not the definite turning-point to the totally straight-forward rock band with Zappa's humor getting kind of boring and even annoying, but still it's a trace of what was to come, which in albums like Sheik Yerbouti or Tinsel Town Rebellion it would be definite for a certain lapse of time.

Recommended only if you're a Zappa fan and are looking for some of his most acclaimed guitar work, even if one half of the album is non-Zappa like. Those who are looking for his virtuosity as a song-writer, put this way below in the buy-list and purchase either The Grand Wazoo or Zappa in New York or other of his classic works. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it's really just a mix of average rock songs and some stand-outs, which in the end I'll have to round the 2.5 stars up because I think there are some other Zappa albums which truly deserve the 2 stars, and besides the standouts in here are not any standouts.

The Quiet One | 3/5 |

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