Call Your Friends

Written by: PP on 29/09/2013 21:29:44

While you can't associate Zebrahead's albums with critical acclaim or artistic innovation, one thing you can say about the band is that they know how to start a party, both live and on record. Throughout their back catalogue they have always been the underappreciated torchbearers of light-hearted, upbeat pop punk that never meant to be anything else than good time in the first place, often left in the shadow of the band that they were the primary inspiration for in the first place, namely Sum 41. With "Call Your Friends", Zebrahead have reached the ten album mark after seventeen years as a band, yet they are showing no signs of growing up whatsoever: they're still a band that loves to have fun more than anything else, as evident by their eclectic live performances, and especially in this case, also by the songs on this record.

At fourteen songs, "Call Your Friends" might feel a tad long once you're approaching the end of the album, but in the meantime you've been exposed to plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour, party-atmosphere, and a versatile sound that bounces evenly between straight up pop punk tracks and more metallic material, which recalls "Chuck" by Sum 41 in particular. "I don't give a fuck 'bout your revolution" sings lead vocalist Ali Tabatabaee on the infectious "I'm Just Here For The Free Beer", underlining the no-frills, no-bullshit attitude that the band has always been driven on, often appearing as the sober (or, rather, not-so-sober) contrast to the politically charged messages normally revolving around the punk scene. Instead, the band relies on choruses that glue themselves to your mind on first listen, such as the one on the title track, which is best described as a fun-filled, high-octane pop punk track that's played with a quintessentially Zebraheadian attitude: hot, skimpily clad models, blow up dolls, beers cracking open, oversized gold chains, keg stands, drinking games, stupid costumes, downing beer in an inflatable pool... I think the embedded video for this song below says everything you need to know about this album: it's a party album, nothing more, nothing less.

Elements of rap-metal, hip-hop and related styles are still integrated to their mix the same way as before, while metal and punk rock are prominently on display as well. This particular combination of genres is toxic to most people wishing to disassociate themselves permanently from failed nu-metal experiments, that is simply not the case for Zebrahead who are pushing that very sound with convincing enthusiasm and youth in their core that leads this scribe to believe they are certainly not faking it. Basically Zebrahead are saying this is their specialty, fuck you if you don't like it.

And so you must go into "Call Your Friends" with an open mind. Expect lots of flip-flopping between catchy pop punk tunes and heavier, metal based material, as well as lots of artistic suicides in the process. But hell, if they can make it sound this catchy, this upbeat, this energetic and this convincing, who am I to say this style is dead? "Call Your Friends" might be one of the best Zebrahead albums in years, and it has the songs to prove it, even if it's still never going to be a critic's darling.

Download: I'm Just Here For The Free Beer, Call Your Friends, Born To Lose, Automatic
For the fans of: Sum 41, Sugarcult, Bowling For Soup
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.08.2013
Sony Music / MFZB

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