Album Reviews

Zombie Zombie – A Land For Renegades

(Versatile) UK release date: 5 May 2008

Despite their aim to “use sound and rhythm as a medium to explore the feeling of fear growing deep inside of you”, there’s much more to Zombie Zombie than just scary, sciencey stuff.

This impressive and unique-sounding debut from the Parisian duo – two geeky looking boys whose image couldn’t be more anti-hipster if they tried – is driven by everything from theremins, space echos, toy pianos, keyboards, scratchy guitar solos and organs to live drums, tape recorders, blips, clunks, alarm clocks and the odd scream and shout, and inspired by George A Romero and John Carpenter horror soundtracks as well as creations by Goblin, Suicide, Raymond Scott, Silver Apples, Mr Oizo, NEU! and Can.

A truly mixed bag then, but strangely enough it works, from dark and slinky opener Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free onwards, we are treated to some shimmering, atmospheric electro in the form of I’m Afraid Of What’s There, the creepy yet catchy A Land For Renegades (one of the album’s definite highlights), the pulsing beats of Before Night Falls and Psychic Harmonia 2, the menacing basslines and dog howls of Jay Rules and the undead vocal sample ridden What’s Happening In The City and Texas Rangers – definitely not ones for the faint hearted.

Zombie Zombie, aka Etienne Jaumet (free-jazz saxophonist, sound engineer, electronic handyman and synth collector) and CosmicNeman (charismatic drummer and general noisemaker) believe the listener will experience different emotional stages as a result of the analog effects used throughout the record, while the rhythms are intended to make your heart beat faster “like in a horror movie when the car won’t start, you give it one last try”.

But even if you are resistent to such studio-created terror-inducing ways and more than a little doubtful that it could ever work, A Land For Renegades will not fail to impress with its technical expertise and individuality.

Like a Crystal Castles for the less fashion focused and more spook-loving electronic music fan, this French twosome are yet another example of a modern act sticking their neck out creatively and succeeding this year. It doesn’t really tug on the heart-strings and as such it is difficult to fall completely head over heels with.

But musos will marvel at how exactly A Land For Renegades was made, with the rest of us becoming hooked from first listen. The fact that it is being released at the start of summer, rather than around its spiritual home of Hallowe’en, is further proof that Zombie Zombie are staunchly anti-gimmick and undeniably in it for the long haul.

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Zombie Zombie – A Land For Renegades