Zero Zero - AM Gold (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Zero Zero

AM Gold (2001)

Jade Tree

Can someone tell me what the hell is going on over at Jade Tree? After signing some of the best, and most exciting bands I've ever heard (Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, pre-Electric Pink Promise Ring) they just went off the deep end. I mean, post-punk means that there is at least some punk left in there, but the kind of stuff they've been signing is as pretentious, overblown and self-indulgent as the very music punk was designed to destroy.

(Also, they never send me any free stuff. And I'm nicer to them than Picture me sticking my tongue out now.)

Anyway, for those who don't know, Lifetime is one of the greatest bands ever. I can't think of a better catalogue, and a better history than the band that stands alone as having combined pop and hardcore in the truest sense. Of course, Lifetime broke up. And the former members went their seperate ways.

Half went on to form the unbelievably good Kid Dynamite, featuring Lifetime guitarist, and main songwriter, Dr.Dan Yemin and Dave Wagenschutz, who was a former drummer for Lifetime. The vocalist, Ari Katz, and multi-talented Dave Palaitis went on to form this band, Zero Zero.

Now, Zero Zero is post-punk in the most literal form. Two of the members are literally doing this as a post-punk project. The original intent, I've heard, was to release a straightforward guitar-bass-drums record, and god, I wish they had.

The best thing I can compare this to is Reggie and the Full Effect, but not the catchy songs, those annoying little tracks inbetween songs with weird noises and drunk people talking. That's what's going on here. It appears they sat down with what sounds like a $20 Casio keyboard, punched a couple of keys over the preset rhythms and wrote some vocals. Don't get me wrong, Ari is still a great singer, and writes great hooks, but the music as a whole sounds like a joke project, not the long awaited return of one of the best vocalists in punk.

To be honest, I hope it is a joke, because it pained me to listen to it even once. It's funny, how Kid Dynamite is really a harder extension of Lifetime, and Zero Zero is really a harder extension of the demo music that comes on those cheap keyboards. If we're lucky, they'll rethink this "retro-techno-k-mart" sound they've got going, and we'll get some good material.

I'm sad now.