Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did)
Copper Feast Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 33:09
Review by Steven Hooke
Returning after a 4+ year break are noise rock-merchants Zeahorse, a Sydney-based four-piece who combine fuzzy, sludge metal riffs with clean psychedelic vocals in a delivery not a million miles away from punk rock.
Invoking a heavier approach than 2016 offering “Torana Dreamin”, much of which is courtesy of bassist Ben Howell whose mired tone could rival the Bloop, “Let’s Not (And Say We Did)” consequently draws in a lot of comparisons to Fugazi, Hawk Eyes and to a lesser extent, Helmet. Opener ‘Designer Smiles’ does this almost immediately, a filthy, bassy riff that acts as lead conductor to the music, before the hypnotic vocals of Morgan Anthony come sprawling in, resulting in a high-energy melancholy, dating back to 90’s grunge (complete with a very ‘Black Hole Sun’-esque solo).
The album then breaks into a brilliant three-part special from ‘Panic Laps’ to ‘The Ladder’. ‘Panic Laps’ has a nice injection of pace, even as Anthony continues his floating vocals, in a well-worked clash of tempos and brings the album from the 90’s feel of ‘Designer Smiles’ into the present day. Follow-up ‘Guilty’ feels like it has more of an attitude in the vocal delivery, akin to Hawk Eyes’ Paul Astick, accompanied by a lingering vocal hook the chorus will stick with you for the rest of the day. And then ‘The Ladder’ presents a bit of a kick up the arse, as it leans more towards Zeahorse’s punkier roots. The song packs tight bassline riffs, a punchier chorus, and a general frenzy that is perhaps lost in the more aloof, stonery tracks heard prior.
The latter half of the album feels like it takes a step pack in tempo and makes up for it in a gluttony of riffs. ‘One Of Everything’ is a sole three minute shot of adrenaline, in amongst blown-amp-sounding, face-gurning riffs, with ‘Cut The Slack’ almost falling into stoner doom territory, owing to the cloud of psychedelia that makes its way into the fold as well.
By garnering comparison and directly/indirectly drawing inspiration from a multitude of names, Zeahorse almost back themselves into a corner of “why listen to the new thing instead of the original thing that we already know and like?” In response, the band does a fine job of establishing their own identity throughout the majority of the album. Songs like ‘One Of Everything’ and ‘Panic Laps’ never feel punk enough to be outrightly branded Fugazi 2.0, but show enough homages to bring in new fans.
For those about the riff and maybe certain horticultural practices, this album should be a winner. Intense, bass-heavy sounds stomping their way through psychedelia and 90’s grunge, with interludes of punk rock to keep the party going, Zeahorse are heading into their metal phase with gusto and with more than ample ideas at their disposal.
‘Designer Smiles’ (Audio)
01. Designer Smiles
02. Panic Laps
04. The Ladder
05. Cut The Slack
06. 20 Nothing
07. One Of Everything
08. Don’t Laugh
Morgan Anthony – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Max Foskett – Guitars
Ben Howell – Bass
Julien Crendal – Drums
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