The John Carpenter loving synth band Zombie Zombie dropped an album for our listening pleasure back in 2012 entitled Rituels D’Un Nouveau Monde. Anyone lucky enough to see them tear through the foundations Liverpool Psych Fest should snap up their back catalogue, as well as everyone who wasn’t there.
Teasing with the slow moody synths before hitting the kind of head nodding groove they reign supreme at, ‘The Wisdom Of Stone’ launches the album with the sense of style and fun you associate with the French mischief makers. Numerous synth parts interlock and work in harmony until the final effect resembles the inner workings of a clock. Mixing a disparate range of tones and textures the opener beguiles.
‘Illuminations’ picks up the pace with a cop car wail and frisky disco back bone. With a slight dub undertone, we approaching the 2 minute mark where it gains greater solidity and some nifty sax stylings. The mixing of synth speeds adds a delicious fluidity to proceedings. As the song enters the final straits the drums get seriously funky.
The cover of Sun Ra’s ‘Rocket #9’ is epic. I’m fairly certain this was played at the Psych Fest, my memory is a wonderful haze of pounding drums and glorious euphoria. On record it’s not as good, but still quite brilliant. Like the music of Klaus Johann Grobe, this isn’t music that should be listened to sat down. Zombie Zombie have taken this song and turned it into a sweaty dance floor leviathan. As such this version suffers from not being 10 minutes long and this not being a warehouse in Liverpool at 2AM. Such is life.
‘Watch The World From A Plane’ has a more laid back vibe, slowly gaining traction as it progresses. Bloated and needle thin sythns jostle for space between percussion and hand claps. Around the halfway marks it is enveloped with a dreamy, cloudy haze before re-emerging with clarity, then bringing all the parts together in unison as we pass 4 minutes.
‘Foret Vierge’ has another classic Zombie Zombie pulse with a woodwind instrument that sounds like a sea-lion farting. Writing about Zombie Zombie is proving to be difficult when all you really want to do is nod your head, these guys know how to make 4/4 drums a work of sheer divinity. Sod it, I’ll be back later…
‘L’Age D’Or‘ has a Bowie-Eno feel. Rising and descending, with more of a motorik groove than the rest of the album.
‘Black Paradise’ has a thunder-clap drum here and there before sleigh bells see the song in properly. This has a low-key playful vibe to bring the album to a close
Certain version have a bonus track which is a cover of New Order’s ‘The Beach’, itself a ‘manual remix’, if you will, of ‘Blue Monday’. Maybe not as adventurous as you might have liked, this is an affectionate and vibrant take on the song and hearing Zombie Zombie tackle the constituent parts of a classic dance anthem is rather joyous.
Until they release a live album that captures them at their full on glory, the sheer going-for-the-juglar brutality of rhythm, anyone with any interest in electronica should check out Zombie Zombie. A rather wonderful band.