Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Zelaz-ow-ow-a brings the heat

March 14, 2009

zelazowaAfter listening to Zelazowa’s latest, Elephants on a Mousehunt, I felt that I needed tongs or a potholder to eject the CD from my stereo – their music is searing. I imagined the album actually smoking from the scorching music it contained. But, a “Caution: Contents May Be Hot” label is not needed. Sure, the contents are hot, but I wouldn’t recommend using any caution to listen to this album. It should be listened to without reserve, which is what the music itself is like.

From the very beginning of Elephants on a Mousehunt, Zelazowa packs a serious punch with their energetic, driving rock. The opener “Today is Tomorrow” is a surefire attention-grabber, with its explosive guitar riffs and no-holding-back vocals. Throughout the album, the vocals sounds like a combination of The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Brandon Boyd of Incubus, mixed with a punk sensibility.

“Numbers,” a dark, political scorcher, increases the energy even more with a frenzied sing-along chorus. This song practically begs the listener to see Zelazowa live – and luckily, it seems like this band is on an eternal tour, so there are plenty of opportunities.

While many of the songs on this album are head-knockers with catchy hooks that encourage jumping around, Zelazowa also churns out some songs that diversify the album’s sound. “You Say Love” has more of a pop influence with really nice harmonies, and the closer “I Got My Gun” begins with an acoustic sound which grows as it progresses. Also, the more mellow and dreamy “Baby Blue (Listening to the Earth Shift)” comes as a bit of a breather or respite in the middle of the album, but doesn’t alter its edgy mood.

Elephants on a Mousehunt is a mature and carefully executed release from Zelazowa that shows daring and spunk. Be sure to check them out if you want to add a hint of wasabi to your musical palate.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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