All hail the return of the saxophone. Morphine brought the sax back during the '90s, but nobody seemed to follow their lead. The big band revival showcased some fine sax playing, and then vanished within a matter of months. Then, along came The Rapture. Yes, indie rock joining forces with the mighty instrument of John Coltrane. Now in no way am I comparing the mind boggling talent of Coltrane to Gabe Andruzzi, but you catch my drift. Finally, in the hands of Abi Harding, The Zutons join the illustrious list of sax powered groups. Band nerds across the globe (myself included) can rejoice!
Last night at the Mercury Lounge, Liverpool's latest buzz band, The Zutons, played to a packed, music industry filled audience. With songs like "Zuton Fever" and "Havana Gang Brawl", it is easy to hear the stylistic comparisons that have been made to their UK label mates, The Coral. The quintet blazed through a tight 45-minute set, playing most of the tracks off their debut album Who Killed The Zutons. Nominated for the coveted Mercury Prize, it is easy to see and hear what all the fuss is about.
The Zutons, led by singer/guitarist David McCabe, perform catchy, quirky pop songs with hints of The Stranglers, 60's scifi films, and a bit of Sly & The Family Stone. I have even heard them referred to as “voodoo funk” and “zombie soul”. I agree with the zombie reference, especially with McCabe’s eerie stage presence. As he stared at a fixed point at the back of the room, it made you wonder if he was on the brink of insanity, slighty pissed off, or just had a case of stage fright. The musicianship witnessed on stage silenced any skeptics in the room. Dead on guitar solos, a brilliant rhythm section, and near perfect harmonies make the Zutons an exciting live band. And what the pint sized Abi Harding may lack in superior sax skills, she made up for with boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Keep an eye out for the US release of Who Killed The Zutons this fall on Epic.