Cooking with gas
Well Cooked! - Wild Zeros (Heavy Medication Records)
To say there’s anything new in the rock and roll zoo is simply a crock. Recycling is de rigeur but that doesn't equate to a negative. Dig in the right places and you’ll find stuff to light you up good and proper, even if it's been worked over like a re-birthed Renault. Here’s a case-in-point.
French band Wild Zeros are your basic punk rock trio with a bit of musicality. They proffer a bunch of rough-edged riffs and ragged melodies - in the style of The Devil Dogs and the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs. They don’t do anything especially new, but what they do is good and they make their own mark in their own way.
It's said a seven-inch single is the best showcase for a band because it force them to put on their best face(s). “Well Cooked” takes the contents of five seven-inch singles, mixes well with a couple of live cuts, and heats over a vigorous, naked flame.
Wild Zeros work under the production hand of Lo Spider of The Jerry Spider Gang, one of the more formidable Froggie rock and roll acts of the last two decades. The Zeros have been going for a dozen years but have evidently churned out these tracks in only the last two. They might come from Toulouse but The Wild Zeros could have stepped off a stage in Gothenburg or Sydney in 1986. It’s high-energy, go-for-the-throat stompers. Cock an ear to their cover of The Pack’s 1978 snarler “Nobody Can Tell Us” from Germany and you’ll get the picture - fast.
Three reasonably obscure covers dot the track selection. “Well Cooked!” also contains the most brazen theft ver of a portion of a Radio Birdman song in “Teenage Lifestyle”, which lifts a part out of “Breaks My Heart”. At least I thought it was the most brazen theft until Heavy Medication label honcho Derrick Ogrodny wised me up to Florida band Psycho Daisies, whose “Too Much Fun” appropriates “Crying Sun” lock, stock and barrel. That one rocks the boat of the original’s writer, Warwick Gilbert, in no small way, but I digress. Lesson: If you're going to steal, rip off the best.
The Wild Zeros take the European rock and roll tradition of mononymous band member monikers one step further by identifying themselves by a single letter. So you can say you’re a big fan of B on guitar and vocals without reference to A on bass or E on drums. B does a fine vocal growl and reels off some sharp licks and leads. A and E go OK, too.