ZZZZ - Palm Reader (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

ZZZZ

ZZZZ: Palm Reader

Palm Reader (2005)

Polyvinyl


3
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. ...

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.

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