The Knack

Re-Zoom

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The Knack's 1998 release, Zoom, was their, let's see, fifth album and third comeback attempt. Unfortunately, Rhino utterly dropped the ball on its release, and when the rights reverted back to the band, they reissued it in early 2003, concurrently with their sixth album and fourth comeback attempt, Normal as the Next Guy. A big improvement over 1991's largely dire Serious Fun, this album also benefits from the presence of new drummer Terry Bozzio, a fellow victim of changing popular tastes and a far-superior drummer than the MIA Bruce Gary. In fact, Re-Zoom is probably the best Knack album since 1979's Get the Knack, with at least a few fine examples of pure L.A.-style power pop and a psychedelic closing ballad, "(All in The) All in All," that's among the group's finest songs. Unfortunately, most of the band's failings are still on display: Although Doug Fieger's lyrics have lost their original misogyny, they're still rather smug, and he sings them with a self-satisfaction unwarranted by his flagrantly derivative musical sense. (At least "Terry and Julie Step Out" makes its borrowings from the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset" plain.) It's not for nothing that by far the best song on Re-Zoom is the untitled 17th track, a jangly pop/rocker with some excellent, wordless "ooh-la-la-la" harmonies. Competent but unnecessary covers of Elvis Costello's "Girls Talk" and Badfinger's "No Matter What" are also added.

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