I was first introduced to The Zutons, as most people were, about two years ago when they released their debut, Who Killed The Zutons. I loved their vintage R&B stylings and songs about common life mixed in with the supernatural zombie. Most people were on the same page as me, and rightfully so, being nominated for a Mercury Prize that year. Their live show was pretty amazing too, boasting a rockin' sax and thunderous bass. Now, The Zutons are returning with their sophomore release, Tired Of Hanging Around.
While the new LP still has plenty of '70s throwback swagger, The Zutons also show that they have grown up some. Less campy and more direct, the band is bringing punchy hook driven tunes that please. At times their sound strays from the early Coral influence and moves on into more of a Talking Heads meets Roxy Music vibe.
The album kicks off with the cowbell and bass guitar filled "It's The Little Things We Do" and quickly turns into "Valerie," the perfectly crafted pop tune about a ginger haired girl that haunts front man Dave McCabe. "You've Got A Friend In Me" is an interesting tune about stalking that is a duet between McCabe and saxophonist Abi Harding. On the stalker-cum-kitchen sink-fantasy tip, "Why Won't You Give Me Your Love" tells of dangerous love and possible kidnapping, but you would never know it unless you studied the lyrics closely. That's something that The Zutons are fabulous at doing, making the lyrics not always match the music. One minute you're bobbing your head to something that makes you happy and seems innocent, and then the next minute you realize that same thing that you are rocking out to is in fact seedy. Not all of the songs on Tired Of Hanging Around are up-tempo rock fueled ass shakers. For example, "I Know I'll Never Leave" starts off almost like a jazz cabaret, only to rock out in the chorus about a minute and a half into the song before slinking back into the smooth verses. The same goes for the gospel-esque "How Does It Feel."
While The Zutons have grown, there is still some room for them to grow in the future. They are following the age-old idea of always leaving the fans wanting more. Smart, indeed.