Authority Zero

Rhythm and Booze

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Walking away from their major-label licensing deal, Arizona post-hardcore punks Authority Zero seem to be at a point of retrenchment with the surprising Rhythm and Booze. Far from merely going back to their indie punk roots, this live album is the most instantly accessible record they've ever made, but in a completely unexpected style. This is Punk Unplugged, an entirely acoustic set of Authority Zero favorites completely rearranged and reworked. Tempos are much slower, and the ska and reggae pulse that has always underscored the band's music is far more prominent. When combined with Jason DeVore's increasingly mellow vocal style, the overall effect is less Rage Against the Machine and more jam band, especially on extended workouts like the noodly centerpiece of "One More Minute" and "Super Bitch." The band's more doctrinaire punk followers, or at least those who weren't already put off by the Wall of Voodoo covers and increasing Latin influence of 2004's Andiamo, will likely find Rhythm and Booze the point at which they leave the Authority Zero party, but this album suggests even more stylistic oddity in the band's future.

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