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(30:57, Play & Record Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Crazies 2:52 2. Kurtz 2:17 3. Something Real 2:25 4. Mud and Rubble 1:53 5. - 2:58 6. Pet Sematary 2:53 7. The Desert 2:08 8. Just Like That 2:07 9. Up and Down the Stairs 2:39 10. The Raven 2:53 11. For Him or Her 2:03 12. Photographs 2:11 13. Don't Drink the Water 1:35 LINEUP: Stephen Evans – vocals; instruments Mark Coupe – drums With: Mary Joanna Coogan – vocals
Prolusion. ZX+ is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Stephen Evans, and it would appear that he started that venture at about the same time that his former band The Planets stopped to release music, i.e. sometime around 2010. As a solo artist he's got a handful of releases to his name. "Don't Drink the Water", the most recent of those, was released in 2015 through Play & Record Records. This 30-minute recording is made up of as many tracks as 13.
Analysis. It would appear that Stephen Evans is one of the many that has been caught in the charms of nostalgia, at least as far as music is concerned. His aim is steadily set backwards in time, and appears to have its main target area to the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. A good time in music indeed, although in this case, the target area is one that existed a bit to the side of the progressive rock this website has a certain specialty in covering. Psychedelic pop rock is what ZX+ is all about, at least on this album. Not in a manner directly comparable to any of the better known artists, but rather pursuing several different aspects of the vintage psychedelic sound in a manner that many should feel familiar and comfortable with. The psychedelic aspects of the music are kept within the less challenging aspects too, and as such, this is music that should have a fairly wide general appeal. The songs are all short and snappy affairs, never venturing beyond the three minute mark, and apart from the occasional instrumental, this is an album dominated by songs with lots of space taken up by verses and chorus sections, and not quite as much for instrument solo runs. The music is often jangly, in a jangle pop music context, and has something of a lo-fi character to it. Music that sounds like it may well have been recorded in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. Garage rock tendencies for sure, especially on the harder edged tracks, and power pop is another expression that can be tossed at this recording with an expectation to stick. Charming at worst and more than pleasantly intriguing at best, this is an album that will easily charm its way into the minds of the greater majority of the people that may encounter this one. Too how great an extent is down to subjective taste, but even if one may not appreciate the music as such, it is easy to hear and recognize that this is a well made production. Perhaps one made on a tight budget, although that may be a case of creating music that sounds authentic as to the time period it aims towards as well. For those who enjoy music of this kind that will probably be regarded as one of the charming aspects of this CD.
Conclusion. If you enjoy psychedelic pop and rock from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and don't mind that bands of this nature include elements from garage rock, power pop and even an occasional nod in the direction of harder edged rock, then ZX+ 2015 CD "Don't Drink the Water" is a production that merits a check. It's a well made specimen of its kind, and while perhaps not a brilliant one, it is most certainly a charming one. On the other hand, it has nothing to do with the genre this site is dedicated to.
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