Sunday, January 14, 2007

High School Musical....

Zoe is a band with 2 members who I went to highschool with. Mike Rowe and Rick Mattka "hey" buddies of mine who I knew threw of schools theatre program. I didn't know them well cause they were in another year then me, but if I ran into them now, I'm sure we could swap memorable theatre stories.

I had no idea that either of these guys were "band" people and it wasn't till a few years after highschool that I stumbled across the end of their set as they performed at the "Sound Of Music" festival in Burlington. If I remember correctly they were finishing up with a very moody and dark cover of "Video Killed The Radio Star" which was cool and I wished I had seen the rest of their set. I bought their album all the same, cause you just never know (I don't think they've made ... yet) and although their cover of "Video ..." wasn't on the album, I was rather surprised at the quality of the music.

The music is like jazzy pop punk. They use standard punk style riffing, but the clean guitar work has a jazz guitar sound. The production quality is good and the sound has a raw feel to it. The punky songs are "Why?" which is straight up punk with a nice solo and a build/release style. "Crows Feet" has an aggressive sound and "Wonderland" is faster, very catchy song with a sing along chorus and playful Alice In Wonderland lyrics. "Winslow" is punky, but unmemorable.

"Peter" is a slower, playful song thats jazzy and makes ya wanna dance to. The lyrics are cleverly written about a murderous neighbour, a Do you really know your neighbours thing.. "Moon" is a jazz-like ballad and Mike's vocals are strong. They should be with his musical theater background. Mrs.Z wouldn't have allowed any muffledness and crisp pronunciation. And she's thanked in the liner notes. In a side note before I go on to the standout tracks, Mike Rowe does one heck of a performance as Jack in "Into The Woods". The best I've seen, and I've seen the musical twice ...

Anywho ... there are 3 songs that I'm torn between as my favourite. "Monopoly" has a simple, but hooky bass intro and is darker and passionate. The vocals shine and the lyrics are catchy. "Everton" is melodic and starts slow with a picking intro and then builds into a heartfelt and passionate end. And "Scrumptious" the album opener is hooky and very catchy and although it's fun to sing a long with, Mike's vocals reek of emotion and you can really feel the song. It also got exposure on the "Hamilton Music Scene" compilation CD's. It's hard to decide, so I'll just say all three are. They all feature hooky riffs, catchy lyrics and passionate performances.

I wouldn't say that Zoe was breaking new ground here, and I really don't think they've done anything else, but this is a fine album and I'm glad I bought it. Who knew Rick Mattka could play bass.... I didn't. I knew Mike could sing from the theater, but Rick's performance on bass is good. This is the first in a series of reviews on bands where I know a member or so. Up next is the band Snak ...


Anonymous SkeptiC said...

Thats awesome!!
So how long ago was this, and how recent is this album of theres?
Do they have a website? I would love to hear a track.

I knew a guy who played guitar when I was 16, he 'had' so much potential, he was one of those natural players. Like he was born to play it. Drugs did him in though. All the talent, yet no brains at all.

8:01 PM  

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