Zap Dragon and the Attack

Pain Waves

Written by: BV on 27/03/2013 20:23:49

Zap Dragon and the Attack is a garage/punk/indie outfit from Orlando that has recently released their debut effort “Pain Waves”. “Pain Waves” is an intriguing blend of classic punk rock, garage rock and the peculiar spirit of not writing within a specific set of genres – so basically, anything can happen and anything goes. Fortunately there are more good songs on the album than there are ‘odd’ ones.

The opening track “Sicko” is a quite peculiar song as it is indeed very garage-sounding, but then again it seems to be sprinkled with a mixture of funk-like grooves and catchy-as-fuck indie songwriting. The vocals on this track interest me quite a lot, due to the sheer delivery of them – they’re not being sung as much as they are being rhythmically spoken and, well, shouted. The lyrics of the track are quite straightforward as well with the phrasing: “I got a heart that was full of gold, but it's been gutted, stolen and sold // I got a problem with everything and everything's got a problem with me“. In this very matter-of-factly sense, they remind me quite a bit of English singer/songwriter Beans on Toast – which in my world is a lyrical stamp of approval right there.

Production-wise, there are hints here and there that this is indeed a debut-album by a not so ‘world-dominating’ act, but it is still quite a good effort. The production which occasionally leaves the sound a bit flat is charming in its own way, and I can’t help but wonder if it is actually done this way on purpose, to underline the garage/punk attitude of the album.

The title track of the album “Pain Waves” has slowly become my favorite off the album, with its very mellow bass-line and drumming that stands in stark contrast to the highly distorted, aggressive sounding guitar. The vocals on this track are also delivered quite effectively as the focus has shifted a bit from shouting and well, talking rhythmically, to actual singing – and it suits the track quite a bit. This alone, is also providing some much needed variation, as this particular blend of genres more often than not creates songs that are short and easily-accessible - but also quite anonymous and easily forgettable.

While there is a decent amount of variation on the album and a quite effective songwriting-thread going throughout, I can’t help but feel that the album isn’t really getting under my skin. It’s good, but it’s not memorable enough for me to really give it a high grade, so I’ll end it aptly. The first effort from Zap Dragon and the Attack is certainly a good start, but it still needs that extra push to really get to the next level. I’d be happy to review their next album as well to see if they will improve their songwriting skills, but for now I’ll settle on the slightly mediocre, but still good “Pain Waves”.

Download: Sicko, Pain Waves, Cock Monocle
For The Fans Of: John Amadon, Billy Wallace & the Virginia Blues, Go Big

Release Date 16.02.2013

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