Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#684 in the Series) is Zeus, Busting Visions (Arts and Crafts Records)
It’s heartening that, in a week when the music world is mourning the loss of Levon Helm, we are able to discover a great new rock ‘n’ roll band that has so obviously been influenced by the legendary drummer and The Band’s ‘70s heyday, amongst other classic groups of the era. It’s a cliché to say the show must go on, but that’s exactly what’s happening in terms of the influence Helm had on musicians the world over. One of those bands carrying on his spirit is Canadian four-piece Zeus, on their excellent second full-length release Busting Visions.
This is an album filled to the brim with classic rock influences, topped up with fresh ideas by the Toronto natives, and rolled out with exceptional skill from all concerned. But despite wearing their influences loudly and proudly on their plaid sleeves, Zeus is no copycat band. The sheer range of their musicianship could never be contained by following the blueprint of one or two favourite bands; these boys can really play, and refuse to throw two songs that sound the same at us, a fact no doubt helped by song-writing duties being shared across band members.
Peppered throughout this generous, fourteen track album, you’ll find hints of the aforementioned The Band (‘Let It Go, Don’t Let It Go’), The Faces (‘Are You Gonna Waste My Time?’), Paul McCartney (‘Strong Mind’),Queen (‘Love/Pain,’ ‘Love In A Game’), Big Star (‘With Eyes Closed’), and sporadic sprinkles of Free, Stevie Wonder,and even Thin Lizzy. How is all this possible you ask? By being able to crunch out the fuzziest guitar hooks, rawest slices of drumming, and dirtiest rock grooves this side of 1980, yet not get repetitive. Even the production is decidedly ‘70s-esque; all it’d need is a few stylus crackles at the start and you’d be forgiven for thinking Busting Visions is a reissue.
There are plenty of young rockers out there playing unashamed, ‘70s classic-rock-inspired tunes (Wolfmother instantly springs to mind,) and there’s room for those bands in all of our record collections, but Zeus is a cut above most of them in range, ability, and imagination. Did The Band play only one style of song over and over? Not a chance! The songs on Busting Visions sound like they’ve been sweated over for an age, before being carefully and lovingly put together by a bunch of dedicated individuals. The album also sounds like it would be great to hear played live, where the songs could take on a new dimension.
Despite the loss of another musical master in the last week, there is much to be excited about in the future of music. Give Zeus a try; I think Levon would approve.
– Paul McBride, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
- Are You Gonna Waste My Time? 2:35
- Love/Pain 2:56
- Anything You Want Dear 3:39
- Let It Go, Don’t Let It Go 3:32
- Strong Mind 4:46
- Bright Brown Opus 0:55
- Love in a Game 3:16
- With Eyes Closed 3:49
- Hello, Tender Love 4:35
- Messenger’s Way 2:55
- Proud and Beautiful 1:13
- Stop the Train 3:23
- Cool Blue (And the Things You Do) 4:01
- Now That I’ve Got You 2:32
- Rob Drake
- Carlin Nicholson
- Mike O’Brien
- Neil Quin
- Official Zeus Website
- Arts and Crafts Records Website
- See more new release reviews
- Zeus Poster by Kid Icarus