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4 stars To have Zello is the Art Rock genre sounds very strange to me. The first time I had listened to this album I was stunned with the similarities with Kansas. And the best Kansas you can imagine. As this great band, they will feature a full-time violonist. You will be brought back to the mid-seventies. The best Kansas period, IMO.

The opener will investigate almost each aspect of their inspirators. This instrumental piece, features truely amazing moments. Absolutely incredible. "Fairy Queen" confirms the impression : we are confronted to a great Kansas clone. This song sounds a bit too much AOR-ish, but rhythm is great, keys are powerful, and of course the violin... The finale is as crazy as Kansas could be during their most creative period, really. Outstanding.

An almost classic intro for "The Children Are Crying" willl lead to another brilliant song. If no one would have told you about Zello, you might think that you are listening to a lost Kansas jewel. Even the vocals try to match Walsh's voice. I really like this song. Very much "Song Of America" oriented.

There will be several very short numbers, sort of interludes which I do not really understand the need for. "The Humming" is somewhat spacey and "Shades Of The Crying Children" is the poorest one with its medieval mood. "Kelpie" is a folkish oriented number. "Fragments of 5 & 6" is a church oriented keyboard number. Each clocking at less than one minute. None is interesting. Press skip all the way through these poor but short moments.

We'll get back with the best of the music we love with "Traffic Jam". It is really impossible to describe this album without making reference to their masters. But the trainee is damned good. Great composition, fabulous rhythm, superb violin, again a crazy instrumental part. We are definitely in the rocking atmosphere of "Down The Road" and its fabulous and wild tempo.

"The Angels Have Fallen" is a good rocking number. Very strong keys and vocals. Lennart is just great in his violin role. Very catchy song. Almost poppish. "Voyager" is on the harder side. Not the best number here, but hey ! One weak number is not a big deal, right ?

The closing number "Hold On" (nothing to do with the Kansas original one) is the longest one of this album, it is very powerful. Completely disjointed as Kansas could be in their early days. Fantastic and rocking like hell, but subtle at the same time. A great closing number for this rather nostalgic album. Very strong backing band (bass mainly) and sublime violin.

If ever you do not like bands sounding as legendary ones, you might appreciate "Zello" moderately. If, like me, you do not have these metaphysical questions, you'll definitely be very enthusiast about this album.

If early Kansas is your cup of tea, you will only be amazed with this album. It does not feature long and epic songs but it is a so pleasant one that I really recommend it to all of you. I just hope that you will find it as intersting as I do. Four stars only because it lacks of personality.

Report this review (#120440)
Posted Tuesday, May 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Swedish band from the mid-90's,based in Karlshamn.Their singer P.O. Saether was a member of various small Hard Rock/Rock bands since 1975,other members were keyboardist Anders Altzarfeld, Lennart Glenberg Eriksson on violin,bass player Danne Lindell and drummer Svetlan Raket.Their self-titled debut from 1996 was released on the Swedish label APM.

Six mid- to short-length tracks with six very short intros between them is the type the band chose to present their musicianship in a short album of 40 minutes.With heavy use of keyboards and violin and played in a rather groovy style,Zello draws influences from the dynamic Hard Prog style of KANSAS,the vintage feeling of BLACK BONZO and the catchy Art Rock approach of fellow natives A.C.T. with a singer delivering a very Hard Rock/AOR type of singing (and some cheesy performances as well): Driving powerful violins,smooth mellotrons,swirling Hammond organ and a steady tight rhythm section guarantee a fine music experience.And while the album sounds very fresh and modern,the presence of organs and the mellotron still add a retro-aesthetic to ''Zello''.However the band is a level lower than the depth of KANSAS' arrangements,the beauty of A.C.T.'s songwriting and the composition skills of BLACK BONZO.

''Zello'' is an album written with much joy, energy and respect to the band's influences and will be a more than pleasant experience for anyone seeking for highly energetic still quite accesible Prog/Art Rock.Recommended.

Report this review (#566620)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2011 | Review Permalink

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