There is a band, their name The Zealots, and their new album Only Rocks Live Forever is fire emoji. How fire emoji? Like… three in a row, 100 underlined. They are a legit “rock band”. Remember those?
There are two main things that I’d like to emphasize about this record. Two things that in my opinion will put The Zealots in the position to explode. The first is that Only Rocks Live Forever feels like a live rock show. Hard to explain, since it’s not like a live recording, but it has the energy of a live show. Examples of other release like this might be Morning View by Incubus or The Color and the Shape by Foo Fighters. Dated references? Maybe, but there was something about rock in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s that just perfectly walks the line between raw and radio-friendly; cleaner than grunge, not nu-metal, and before Imagine Dragons. I’m painting with broad strokes so that I don’t get a stroke just thinking about it, but I digress.
Unlike a lot of radio rock, which comes across as “sterile” in the way that it’s performed/edited, there are nuances in this record that make it feel more organic. You might notice that left and right guitars play slightly different rhythms or voicings, and the synergy of the two creates a layer of added excitement that can easily get destroyed with OCD editing. Keep an ear out for “Sledge”. It’s got a touch of heavy. Oh, and there are guitar solos. I miss those.
Become a fervent believer in the The Zealots by watching this slick video for “Tangerine Dreams”.
Secondly, the vocals are uber unique in their execution and composition. For those who don’t know, lead singer Micah Martin has been featured on numerous EDM tracks that have garnered a fair amount of attention, and he brings that flare to these songs. While still gravelly and aggro, the vocals bounce like a party. His lyrical writing, at times, even dips into the flavour of pop, with phrases like, “you ain’t got no love, but you call yourself a lover *backup echo* you call yourself a lover”. It’s subtle and super hard to explain, but when you listen to it, you’ll know exactly what the french toast I’m talking about.
SIDENOTE – “Alabama Gentleman” has one of my favourite vocal moments of all time. I’m not sure how to describe it, but the vocal part sounds like aggressive motor boating that ends with a “yeeeeeeeeah”. It catches me off guard every time, and I’ve spun this record at least a dozen times by now. I kind of want it to be my ringtone.
Only Rocks Live Forever Track Listing:
01. Only Rocks Live Forever
02. Tangerine Dreams
04. Tequila Mockingbird
05. Medicine Man
06. Caught Up
07. Brand New Kicks
08. Alabama Gentlemen
10. Sweet Mississippi
Run Time: 33:22
Release Date: June 1, 2018