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Zula – “6 Passes” Review

80's New Romantics meets 10's synth rockers!

Rockers Zula released their ragged EP “6 Passes” last week and it’s been on heavy rotation in my flat since release. Zula take weird half riffs and dissonant vocals but moulds it into something that really works. It’s not quite psychedelic but not shoegazery or grungy either – and its nod to all things 80’s makes the band sound like they’ve invented a time loop of their own.

Opener “Anything For You” has several different riffs colliding and eventually overlapping but initially they don’t sound like they are in the same song. The guitars are doing one thing, the bass is funky as hell, the vocals are off on a tangent and the keyboards and strings create an atmospheric swirl that calms everything down. It sounds like I’m describing a mess, but each element swaps in and out to create a whirlwind of sounds and feelings rather than a splodge of noise. It’s really quite impressive and continues with the quirky dance rock “Unmistakable” which reminds me of the new romantic era of the 80’s. This track is more joyous, upbeat, catchy and full of beans. It’s a perfect sonic sister to the more experimental “Try It” which plays with lots of synth and bass work to create a funky tapestry of sound. From the organs to the bass, the finger picked electric guitar and tuned percussive keyboard samples, it all feels retro cool and perfect for the Summer.

“City World” is more scrambled and shifts towards the synth rock world with chunky guitar riffs and dizzying synth patterns. The quartet whip up a nice cross genre dance that really picks up. However, the most straight forward rock track is also my joint favourite from the EP. “All Except” initially starts off like a cyber jazz track for the first few seconds but quickly becomes a meaty percussive rock track. The vocals really shine here and remind me a little of Babylon Zoo – but less unhinged! The closer “Breathe In” is a tech-noir rock track. It’s thick dark synth background lets the prettier guitars dance around and the bassist, whose the unsung hero of the band just jam away. The result is a dark, moody but groovy finale.

Zula have created a thick, groovy, anti rock retrotastic EP that I just don’t quite know where to place. For that alone, they deserve applause, but the songs themselves are superb too and grow upon each listen. This will be a release you’ll have on full rotation in years to come.

Recommended Track : All Except

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