The Zombies, R.I.P.
The only Record Store Day exclusive I was looking to pick up this year was the first U.S. vinyl release of R.I.P., The Zombies’ lost follow-up to Odessey And Oracle. Since The Zombies had broken up before Odessey was even released, the story of how R.I.P. came to be is an odd one, but it explains the uneven musical hybrid it became. After “Time Of The Season” sprung back to life and became a hit, keyboardist-singer Rod Argent and bassist Chris White were asked to record a new Zombies album. Instead of making an entire LP of new material, the duo recorded several original tracks and filled in the rest with touched-up demos from the mid-’60s. The new songs, which dominate side A, inherited some of the harder-edged prog rock Argent was developing in Argent, his new band. Outside of the opening track, they’re forgettable and often dragged down by Argent’s indulgences. But side B is The Zombies I know and love—literally, as these songs date back to the band’s time on Decca—smart ’60s pop with immaculate vocal harmonies. “If It Don’t Work Out,” the band’s demo of a song later recorded by Dusty Springfield, and “Walking In The Sun,” the throbbing closing track, are highlights. [Matt Gerardi]
Dreamy synthpop bands are a dime a dozen these days, but Wet stands out by crafting dazzlingly soulful tracks that linger, transcending mere earworm status. The Brooklyn-based trio is clearly fond of ’90s R&B, sharing Aaliyah’s ability to toe the line between sensuousness and fragility. The members channel their influences on their 2013 self-titled EP, a stirring collection of four songs that weaves a complex web of emotions: passion, regret, longing, and self-doubt. Singer Kelly Zutrau’s voice is sweet and wistful, bringing levity to the EP’s more somber moments and, on tracks like the standout “You’re The Best,” you can hear her wrestling with feelings of both hopefulness and uncertainty. That heart-on-sleeve sincerity is the band’s big hook, drawing the listener into its breezy world of flickering drum machine beats and resounding guitar chords. The EP is tauntingly brief, but the band is currently wrapping up its first LP, Don’t You, due out this fall on Columbia Records. The first cut to be released from the album, “Deadwater,” is a stunner. The shimmering slow-burn builds to a heart-breaking chorus where Zutrau sings, “Shaky and I’m on my knees / There are better things for me.” It’s an immaculate song, alternately delicate and powerful, and one that points to a promising future for the young band. The name might make them difficult to Google right now, but I have a feeling the band will be all over the internet pretty soon. [Cameron Scheetz]
Faith No More, The Real Thing and Angel Dust reissues
Man, the guys in Faith No More look so dumb on the back cover of their breakthrough 1989 album, The Real Thing. Mike Patton is wearing sweatpants and a ball cap with the brim turned up—and everybody’s trying to look really hard. And some of the music hasn’t aged that well, either, with the swirling keyboards and chugging guitar that start the album reminiscent of Loverboy, which was surely not the intention. Still, there’s something timeless about The Real Thing and even moreso 1992’s Angel Dust, which is where the band found what it was looking for—some weird mix of aggression and tunefulness with just a hint of funky swagger thrown in for good measure. To mark the occasion of the band’s new album, Rhino has just released deluxe vinyl and CD editions of The Real Thing and Angel Dust, complete with second discs of rarities and live tracks. And they look much more put together on the back of Angel Dust. [Josh Modell]