I have been fortunate enough here to be gifted with the task of reviewing the third album by Sydney noise-rockers Zeahorse. I feel like a broken record, but every alt-rock/punk tinged Australian act coming through of late has been a winner. In scope of exports, I hope the government nail down these sorts of trade deals to ensure it doesn’t dry up.
Leading track ‘Designer Smiles’ kicks in like a Steve Albini wet dream, an excellent distorted marriage of bass and guitar leaning towards Mclusky with some crossover appeal for rock radio while still maintaining the band’s dirgey ferocity.
As the album rolls out, the scope of the band’s sound develops greatly sounding fuzzier and with some great psych moments like the Butthole Surfers without the self-indulgent tendencies that plague their back catalogue.
Midway through the album, track ‘Cut The Slack’ reveals yet further dimensions, the whole track is melody led but with a seedy underbelly thanks in part to the killer bass line. The vocals on display here like a sleazy crooning Black Francis which is absolutely fantastic, ’90s tinged plaid shirt technicolour.
The album is very short and sweet, so quick-paced it takes you by surprise when it comes crashing down on the last track ‘Don’t Laugh’. Sounding like one of the more guitar-led numbers from Primal Scream’s ‘XTRMNTR’ with the added appeal of the jangling lead guitar lines akin to Lee Renaldo.
Zeahorse showcases a loyal depiction of a ’90s alternative rock sound but does so while also making ground on developing their own signature attributes. By all means, give these guys a listen to relive your glory days of the “Seattle Sound” etc. But you will be more than pleasantly surprised when you discover the original ways that our new friends are delivering this familiar formula.
Author: Dan Kasm