Make the Zeros your new Heros
"News From Nowhere" - Atomic Zeros (Ghost Highway Recordings)
If you don't like rock'n'roll, you'll hate the Atomic Zeros. They are all your worst irritants combined: garage, MC5, punk, surf, garage and Radio Birdman overtones.. But also: much of the phrasing reminds me more of Chris Bailey back in the day (see "Electric Chair"). Curious how insistent the Zeros are; yet so modern they seem compared to the rather lame “modern” music.
They've broadened and fleshed out their sound, but one major element remains: they sound bloody enormous. Play loud at people who like Justin Bieber and crap that's everywhere that you have to try so hard to like, and that red-haired git as well. No, not John Lydon, though he probably wouldn't like it either.
Once upon a time, Radio Birdman ruled Sydney. Then they went away, and people tried to mimic them. Understandable. Most of what I heard at the time (I'm not a Sydneyite, so I missed the period where every band in Sydney tried the template) I disliked. But hey. One person's revolutionary band is another's wallpaper.
Somewhere in Spain, it's still that time, and Atomic Zeros would wipe the floor with most of the Birdman template bands. There's a lot of sharps here. (No, not that sort. Sheesh.) Dizzying turns of speed. Grandiloquence. Lethal guitars. Dangerous tension. Story arcs, even.
It's been a while since the Atomic Zeros' last (self-titled) LP - what did I say then?
Big scything guitars fill the room over a churning rhythm section and a bloke with a voice to equal them. No let-up, it's a squalling surf rhythm which yanks you outta that boring there and into a real life now, a constantly attacking, slashing free-fall. The guitar changes are swift, accomplished, powerful, the solos are brief, pointed and perfectly judged, and the lyrics are pared-down and simple, their use of menacing, hovering feedback rather bloody lovely. Kind of a biker Highway I94 burnin'n'shootin' road trip, or maybe a Thelma and Louise verminatin' chase through Monument Valley.
“Verminatin”. Now there's a word.
"News From Nowhere" opens with a cover of a Lords of the New Church song, "Russian Roulette" (one side of their recent limited single). I don't know where they party, but I want to be there. By the time the title track arrives, you feel like you can surf on the guitar, ride the curls ...
Favourites here include "Russian Roulette" and "Last Day of My Life", but you'll have your own... this is classic rock'n'roll as it is supposed to be - not what those pointless corporate slubs think is popular. It's bloody wonderful that bands are still out there, jabbing splinters beneath the nails of boredom and dead expressions.
The Atomic Zeros - hell, you want them to come and play your local and hammer all those wankers in “hard rock latte”, Barnsey, Farnsey and Scotty T-shirts against the wall and blitz them into mush. Quite honestly, if you didn't know they were from Spain at first listen you'd think they were from either Sydney or Detroit.