Oxxon - Radio Zero (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Radio Zero (2009)


For years, there was a running joke propagated by those at Fat Wreck that German punks Wizo didn't even have the common courtesy to write their songs in English. Nobody seemed to have a problem with that, though, as the band enjoyed widespread success across the globe. And when they did sing in English, they were able to effectively convey messages as fluently as in their native tongue.

Most non-English bands, however, would be better off sticking to the language they use on a day-to-day basis. Stuttgart, Germany's Oxxon is one of those bands.

"Doing nothing doesn't strain / Doing nothing causes no pain / Doing nothing is a wonderful thing / Doing nothing keeps me thin" are the opening lines of Radio Zero on "Doing Nothing," a fairly standard rock/punk number saved only by a nice guitar lead. These kind of quasi-intelligible lyrics continue throughout the album, as the pointless minute-long "Stupid Song" suggests: "This is another stupid song / You've been waiting for so long / This song has nothing to say / The chords are so simple even I can play them."

Sometimes the lyrics don't even make sense, and you have to wonder what they were trying to convey in the first place. On "4ME2BE," vocalist Ralf sings "Law and order doesn't matter to me / It's a need for me to be / For me to be / It doesn't matter to me." Come again?

There are a couple tracks here where you can look past the weak lyrics either because of some good hooks or superior songwriting, such as the 11th track, "Friday 12th." Even with the simple lyrics, it's easier to feel the emotion coming through the speakers than when the band goes for a more direct approach. The same is true of the closing track "One Below," which really rounds out the album nicely and ends things on a positive note after so many mediocre songs with bad lyrics.

There are a couple good songs on Radio Zero that negate the lyrical fumbling, but there aren't enough to offset this awkward and mediocre album.