Classic Zeus

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So is the title Classic Zeus supposed to mean that this is a collection of the Canadian indie pop band's most iconic sides? Or that this is Zeus exactly the way you remember them, like Classic Coca-Cola? Or that the band's third album is an instant classic? Well, the first is absolutely not true, as this album is all new material, and since the alt-country twang that lurked just beneath the surface of Zeus' first two albums is not much visible here, part two isn't entirely accurate. And as for the third option, Classic Zeus isn't quite a classic, but this band's gift for repurposing pop and soft rock sounds of the '70s is just as impressive as ever, and this is as pleasurable as anything they've recorded to date. While there's a coolly knowing sensibility that sets these songs apart from their role models (and sometimes makes these songs sound just the slightest bit tongue-in-cheek, as if Sheet Music-era 10cc had magically reappeared outside Toronto), principal songwriters Mike O'Brien, Carlin Nicholson, and Neil Quin clearly have taken this music to heart, and "Old Enough to Know," "One Line Written In," and "Miss My Friends" show enough craft and heart that they would have found plentiful airplay in the glory days of Canadian Content regulations. The instrumentalists (including drummer Rob Drake) generate a nearly ideal loosely tight feel, and Zeus clearly know the way around their own studio, generating a sound that matches the playful sense of discovery of lo-fi with a more polished and disciplined final product. Classic Zeus might sound like a title that comes from a band whose members are eager to pat themselves on the back, but there's no denying that Zeus are very good at what they do, and refining their process with each album; there's no real call for false modesty when you're making albums as good as this.

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