Zarkons

Between the Idea and the Reality...Falls the Shadow

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The Zarkons used to be called the Alley Cats, and they were once a great band: see their extraordinary "Nothing Means Nothing Anymore" Dangerhouse single and their track "Too Much Junk" on the Yes L.A. Dangerhouse LP. The two Alley Cats LPs on MCA pale next to that furiously intense debut, but there's some real first-rate stuff, anyway, on Nightmare City and especially Escape from the Planet Earth. Their first LP as Zarkons was pretty dreadful, but there are hints on this one that it might be better. There's a new lineup behind principals Randy Stodola and Dianne Chai, and the album opens with "Heart Full of Soul," which the Yardbirds had a number two hit in Britain with in 1965 (see Rave Up). The LP title is also obviously lifted from the famous T.S. Eliot poem "The Hollow Men"; there's even a Dylan Thomas poem set to original music, "The Hunchback in the Park." Most significantly, the whole thing was both produced and engineered by Stodola himself. Could this be a rediscovery of older values? No chance. It's airy, bland, and lifeless. The guitars-bass-drums-keyboards mix takes great pains not to step on anyone's toes; there's no bounce, no sap, no bluster, no nothing; and the material itself is equally insignificant. Even "Heart Full of Soul" is so insufferably banal it's unrecognizable.

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