Year 2, Day 7: So… Who REALLY Killed The Zutons?

Year 2, Day 7: The Zutons – Who Killed……. The Zutons?

Tracklisting

  1. Zuton Fever
  2. Pressure Point
  3. You Will You Won’t
  4. Confusion
  5. Havana Gang Brawl
  6. Railroad
  7. Long Time Coming
  8. Nightmare Part II
  9. Not a Lot to Do
  10. Remember Me
  11. Dirty Dancehall
  12. Moons and Horror Shows

About the Album

Who Killed…… The Zutons is the debut album from Liverpool rockers The Zutons. The album was released on April 19th 2004.

Thoughts on the Album

First off, for those of you who have never heard of The Zutons, go on to YouTube and search for the song “Valerie”. And not the “cover version” that Amy Winehouse did. I’ll wait. Or you can just click here. The Zutons were a five piece band whose original lineup consisted of Dave McCabe, Russell Pitchard, Sean Payne, Boyan Chowdhory, and Abi Harding. The band takes it’s name from the stage name of an American guitarist by the name of Zoot Horn (Zuton) Rollo, whose real name is Bill Harkleroad.

So… how does a Yankee like me come across a relatively unknown English band from Liverpool, you might ask? In EA Sports’ MVP Baseball 2005The Zutons‘ song “Pressure Point” was featured on it. As with most things, I need to hear more from the band and soon enough, I got a hold of their 2004 release Who Killed… The Zutons? 

May I just say, Abi Harding, the lone woman in the band and also the saxophone player in the band, is a beast on sax. I could listen to her play the sax all day.

I digress… I’m getting off topic. Back on topic. For me, I love this album, but it seems a wee bit out of place in this current era of music or at least then current era of music in 2004. The album is a mishmash of 1960s/1970s style rock, progressive rock, and psychedelic rock. But what the scouse rocker do well is blend those styles together into a good debut.

The open track, Zuton Fever, is a decent intro. While I never had a chance to see these guys live before the disbanded in 2008/2009, from what I’ve heard from friends from college, Zuton Fever is a favorite of fans that is always played live. It’s an immediate attention grabber. I can only describe the guitar riff as “intoxicating” and when combined with Harding’s scattered sax and vocals and the bassline keep your ears glued to the record.

The track that sticks out the most, is the debut single, Pressure Point. It is the anthem on the album, complete with Abi Harding’s sax, cowbell, handclaps, and a rather irresistible disco-funk rhythm. Of course, it’s not complete without the modern day guitar riffs and hooks. And the follow up, You Will You Won’t, is a pretty impressive follow up. You Will You Won’t, is a stomping rocker that puts frontman Dave McCabe’s voice on display for all to hear. Seriously, the song takes full advantage of his voice.

Probably one of my favorite songs outside of Pressure Point, is Railroad. It’s pace is a wee bit different from the rest of the tracks on the album but it still holds up. Its a light and breezy number about a migrant railroad worker sending a love letter to a girlfriend. Cheesy and overplayed “man sends his significant other a love letter” cliche story? Yes. But the lyrics more than make up for.

Conclusion

With a mix of funk, rock, soul, 60s progressive rock, ska, country, and a host of other genres of rock mix in for good measure, Who Killed…… The Zutons is a 46 minute break from your daily troubles. Between McCabe’s vocals, Harding’s Sax, and guitar riffs, in my opinion you will be tapping your feet or humming along. Hell, you might even start singing along. Just don’t lip-sync in public, people look at you weird.

I see now why this band got comparisons to fellow Liverpudlians, The Coral. But they are not. The album is a very original one and doesn’t sound like many others. The lyrics of McCabe are unique on itself and sound like they are coming from a frustrated mind. Some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard are in the songs Pressure Point and Railroad.

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