ZZZZ - Palm Reader (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Palm Reader (2005)


ZZZZ is what happens when the wedding band at your Uncle Schlomo's reception gets into the stock supply of Manischewitz; they proceed to play spazzy, loosely jazz-infused and experimental indie pop that'll leave several scratching their Kipas and the majority in the room dancing like it was 1945.

The debut full-length from ex-members of Swing Kids, Sweep The Leg Johnny and others, pretty much sounds nothing like their past outfits. Palm Reader is a bouncy collection of quirky, dual vocal-enforced, keyboard-addled, horn-splintered, hyphen-inducing bizarreness. The disc's opener, "Assassination Polka," opens with a ska-like buoyancy, soon receding in favor of lead vocalists Steve Sostak and Ellen Bunch trading off peculiar narratives. Its follower, "Forget It," continues the madness in the vocal department, half-shouting the song's title and subsequently making the track the catchiest of the bunch.

The band is Chicago-based, and it makes a lot of sense. Though more obnoxious and disorderly personality-wise, the arrangements here share a lot in common with Colossal – except, you know, on lots of poorly-mixed acid. They may not be half as modest or a fourth as American Football-influenced, but they're certainly elaborate enough with the musical chops to color outside the lines and make it seem artful. The guitar-less four-piece throws in enough notes from each member enough so the actual inclusion of a guitar would now seem unnecessary.

The accessibility factor may not be at an all-time high here, but at the same time, given the pedigree, there's not only enough creativity blending at hand - it's actually fairly interesting, which makes Palm Reader a bit of a hypnotic distraction.

Bandit King And Queen