Zoos of Berlin

Instant Evening

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One of Detroit's great musical enigmas, Zoos of Berlin have quietly dispensed two exquisite art-pop masterworks to relatively little fanfare either locally or globally. Somewhat of an oddity in the Midwestern landscape, their tonal sensibilities are more in line with English auteurs like Godley & Creme and Brian Eno than with the scrappy garage rock of their rustbelt home. That's not to say their sophisticated pop approach is stand-offish or stuffy. In fact, their music is quite accessible, albeit by the side door where their spellbinding sounds lead listeners to a familiar place via an alternate route. With Instant Evening, their third full-length, they've fused their appealingly lush aural climate to a collection of songs that sets a new benchmark for the now veteran writing duo of Trevor Naud and Daniel I. Clark. In Zoos' trademark fashion, tracks like "Rush at the Bonds" and "Spring from the Cell" are rife with hooks and well-honed melodies that take as many left turns as needed to keep them from mainstream consideration. The laid-back propulsion -- also one of the band's hallmarks -- remains evident, especially on midtempo stunner "Ambition Sounds," whose unhurried groove eyes the distant horizon while Naud gently intones "I still belong to you, I still belong to the outside world," a dichotomy that makes a pretty good case for Zoos' strange allure. As approachable as they sometimes are, there is also something private and deeply personal about their music. Like the album title implies, they live more naturally in twilight, sharing the public glow of day with the secrecy of night, and while that kind of mystique isn't easily generated, Zoos of Berlin have once again made it seem effortless.

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