by / November 4th, 2011 /

Zun Zun Egui – Katang

 3/5 Rating

(Bella Union)

Zun Zun Egui are based in Bristol, boasting members from Mauritius and Japan, which gives the music its eclecticism in rhythm and language. If Mike Patton was nice, and had love he wanted to share, and Damon Che joined Graceland-era Paul Simon for a jam, this is what it may have sounded like.

This album has an ebullient industry all of it’s own. Sounding as if it’s going to take the obtuse turns of the Math Rock it can suddenly go all calypso like. ‘Katang’, the albums title track and opener, fizzes with guitar hooks and vigorous vocalising, taking a few left turns and managing to squeeze 6 minutes out of what sees like a fairly minor idea. There’s a first-take urgency about the whole thing, which showcases the band limber fingered acuity, but may, with time begin to grate. ‘Fandango Fresh’ is the distillation of their sound, as close to a pop song as they can manage, it’s either terrifically beguiling or really annoying, I can’t decide.

I can see these lads going down a storm at the festivals next year, when the sun is out and the happy pills have been distributed. Even if the sun isn’t out, which is of course, far more likely. With English not necessarily being the band’s first language, and that tending toward a kind of scattish nonsense, they lack a sing-along summer classic (beyond singing “sexy worm (I think)” on ‘Fandango Fresh’). Despite their virtuosity and nerdy hooks, and despite the multi-cultural make of the band, they have a sound, and it rarely changes, even though it may seem as if it’s changing five or six times a song. They might think that layering angle upon change upon tangent represents a fecundity of creativity, but the greatest trick in pop music is always making more from less. Turning out a great tune from three chords is impressive, from one chord even more so. A ton of ideas is less of a parade of genius than an advertisement for a lack of focus, a kind of hyperactivity, a great big sheet scribbled with every crayon in the house. Colourful and insistent, but somewhat hazy.

In the morning I wake up humming the melody from the ‘Katang’ in my head, and that’s how it works. Even before the coffee, in that early morning fug of rage, there it is, tweaking away at my synapses like a tiny eejit with a pneumatic drill. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet, but then, I’m an old damaged cynic. If you are not, then give this one a lash.

Zun Zun Egui – Fandango Fresh from Bella Union on Vimeo.

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