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Ultra Zook - Ultra Zook CD (album) cover

ULTRA ZOOK

Ultra Zook

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.83 | 3 ratings

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Harold Needle
4 stars [4 - 4,5 stars]

So, here we have an interesing little nugget coming from Lyon, France. I actually found out about this band via Dur et Doux label (which seems to be among the best places to search for new, fresh and original prog these days). I pre-ordered the CD blindly (mostly because of the fantastic cover art), and boy, am I damn glad I did.

The band consists of Benjamin Bardiaux on keyboards, Rémi Faraut on drums and Emmanuel Siachoua on bass. Each of the members also contributes vocals as well as some flute playing. And by "flute", I actually mean a recorder, a very cheap, cheesy-sounding instrument most of europeans are probalby familliar with (playing this abomination is tought in schools). I always thought that this instrument is too bad to be used in any serious musical recording. However, it sort of works in Ultra Zook's case, mostly because Zook's music isn't very serious at all.

The music on this record is actually really fresh and interesting, combining light-hearted comedy rock with complex prog-ish arrangements, children's music and even some bits of tropical music! As to the band's style, I can't really come up with any direct comparison, I guess Samla Mammas Manna and fellow countrymen PoiL are the closest I can think of. It's not saying much though, as Ultra Zook really has it's own, very distinguishable personality. As I mentioned, the music is fun and fresh, and you probably never heard anything like it before.

I was very tempted to give this one 5 stars, but I guess 4 (4,5 actually) is more fair. While really interesing and fun, some of the tracks I find to be not as exciting as the others, especially on the second half of the record. Also, I feel like the band is capable of making much more serious and sophisticated music - though I don't mind the silliness at all, it's a big part of Zook's charm anyway.

In conclusion, I have to say I'm very satisfied with this record, even though it's not a perfect one. While the band already has a very fresh and original style, I think there's still more exploring to be done. I hope the band will eventually come up with a new release, that will blow my mind completely. In the meantime, I'll be enjoying this one, especially on hot summer days. If you like your music complex, funny and fresh, grab yourself some Zook right away! I warmly recommend it, and keep my finger crossed for the band to deliever some more music soon.

Harold Needle | 4/5 |

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