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Zip Tang - Private Shangri-La CD (album) cover

PRIVATE SHANGRI-LA

Zip Tang

 

Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 25 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars And so, onto the difficult fifth album, which came out in 2015. Not only had the band lost saxophonist and keyboard player Marcus Padgett, they had decided not to replace him and to continue as a trio. Fred Faller provided drums, Rick Wolfe was on bass and vocals while Perry Merritt provided vocals, guitar and synth. Also, there are no guests whatsoever, which means that musically this was a shift as sax and woodwind had previously been a major part of the band's sound. Interestingly, this album finds the guys much more of a cohesive and complete unit than they had been on 'Das Reboot', and they were also releasing this only two years on from the last, which along with the change in direction is quite an achievement.

The jagged approach is back, along with gentler sections (which may or may not include acoustic guitars), but this time the feeling is of dynamic contrast and the different sections working to accentuate the other instead of competing against them. They twist, they turn, and Rick is providing an absolutely filthy bass sound which ensures that the acoustic guitar is stark in it's difference. The music is sharp, with venom and bite, refusing to conform to what people think progressive rock should be like, but it easily moves from this to something smooth and more relaxing, but one can never be sure of what is coming next.

At times this is strongly commercial, but then they throw in some Zappa-like twists which takes the song in a totally different direction. The guys could easily have thrown in the towel with the departure of Marcus, but instead have revitalised and produced an album which has a great deal in common with their early works while also moving in a new direction. 2017 saw the band again go through a shift with the departure of original founding member/ bassist Rick Wolfe, but thy have found a new bassist and will soon be recording their next album which is a concept that Perry has been working on for the last couple of years. Zip Tang is not a name known by many progheads for some reason, but five albums in they're not slowing down. This is an excellent return to form and I am looking forward to the next one with great interest.

kev rowland | 4/5 |

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