Zoo Story's debut is steeped in the tradition of classic rock, evoking the aural capacity of Led Zeppelin, Queen, U2, and Pearl Jam. Singer/guitarist Randy Coleman leads this Los Angeles-based quartet through 12 tracks of anthemic bliss. The opening song "Mantaray" defines the Zoo Story sound, which employs multiple guitar textures, a driving backbeat, and explosive choruses with melodic hooks big enough to fill an arena. Coleman's passionate delivery is the focal point on this collection. Like Jeff Buckley and Bono, his vocals gradually build into a crescendo, then he takes it back down and starts over again until every drop of emotion has run dry. Guitarist Carlos Rivera, bassist Nick Sample (son of legendary pianist Joe Sample), and former Tonic member Kevin Shepard on drums give the music a forceful, powerful edge without the benefit of flashy solos or cliché blues riffs. Fist pumping cuts like "Star," "Absent Highway," and "She Don't Care" are tailor-made for modern rock radio, and the ballads "Piano Song" and "Midnight Luna" should set off a million cigarette lighters. They even dabble with funk in "Little Small Blue." Zoo Story, who take their name from the 1958 Edward Albee play, have all the ingredients needed to propel themselves to the top of the rock heap on their first album.
Zoo Story Review
by Tom Semioli