The Zapruder Sequence

Imagine a world where rap-rock never existed. Don't let the joy overwhelm you, but try to return to the mid-'90s, when kids began to donate their flannel shirts in droves, and bands such as Rage Against the Machine and Korn had barely gained a foothold in American pop culture. Now, put yourself in a suburban teenager's bedroom at that time and look at the poster-coated walls, where up-and-comers such as Weezer and Soul Asylum shared precious wall real estate with arena greats like Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Van Halen. The Zapruder Sequence's eponymous debut is such an ultimate soundtrack to such a bedroom, frozen in that era where musicians were untouchable idols and rock was king. The Dallas quintet scatters its influences on this eight-song EP as haphazardly as posters on a wall, jumping from Moog-supported pop-rockers to metal-appreciative howlers to deep-fried crooners. Aside from two softer tracks, the unifying quality to this disc is a love affair with loud, crunchy guitar hooks that plow through and leave heads bobbing.

Rhythm guitarists Noah Bailey and Jordan Munn share vocal duty: The former shouts through cock-rocker "Powder Keg" and seduces the bottle on "Goodnight Little Drunkard," while the latter pledges through clenched teeth on "Foreigner." Rounding out the three-guitar attack, guitarist Jon Binford lets loose with Bloodshot-loving solos in "Union Ride" and "Drunkard" while dousing radio-friendly "Like, Come On" and "Roman Admirals" in synthesizers that recall Adventures of Jet more immediately than The Cars. More D-FW music appreciation can be found in the highly Slobberbonian "Foreigner" and a dedication to Centro-matic in the lyrics to "Revival," but when the ZS isn't name-dropping, they're singing about, um, war. Political affiliations aren't apparent in the songs, but the dedications to Vietnam and the Civil War should make this EP a lock in any American-history teacher's collection. Well-sung harmony parts and a few subtly pretty songs may not stop discerning listeners from casting this aside as overdone pop-rock fare, and the EP seems more like a portfolio than a cohesive record, but these are minor gripes for a promising debut. If they keep this up, the ZS will find themselves on teenagers' walls in no time.

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sam Machkovech

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