Zounds

The Redemption of Zounds

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An early signing of the influential Rough Trade label, anarchist outfit Zounds may have only released one studio album (1981's The Curse of Zounds), but their D.I.Y. sound and strong political messages left a legacy within the post-punk community that extended far beyond their brief five-year career. Three decades on from what's considered one of the genre's most inspirational records, and four years after re-forming for various live performances, reclusive vocalist Steve Lake returns to the studio, (alongside the Evil Presleys' bassist Paul O'Donnell and drummer Paul Gilbert) for their rather belated sophomore album, The Redemption of Zounds. From the Bowie-aping riffs and soul-searching lyrics "(I still don't know what I'm supposed to be") of opening track "Cry Genie Cry," to the Jam-esque new wave of closer "Waiting for the Clampdown Honey," it appears that despite the new lineup and 30-year time difference, not much has changed, as the trio rip-roar their way through ten new tracks packed full of primitive rhythms, spiky guitars, and rabble-rousing melodies, such as the "whoa-whoa" chorus of "Supermarche," the pogo-inducing "Damage," and the chugging pub rock of "Another Roadside Attraction." Lake's drunken drawl remains as charmingly amateurish as ever, as he struggles to keep in tune on the harmony-led indie rock of "What Is It Worth?" and the rather simplistic themes of "Make Love Not War," while the muddy, live-sounding production echoes the claustrophobic nature of their debut. With any music from the past two generations apparently passing them by, The Redemption of Zounds is a little too archaic to draw any new converts in, but while it's not exactly been worth the 30-year wait, it's a refreshing, back to basics affair which should feed into the nostalgia of those who grew up within the cassette culture era.

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