New Era EP (Album Review)
By Randy Harris
WTF is Zoogma??? A question, or more precisely, a slogan, that has followed four musicians from coast to coast and beyond. Currently based out of Nashville, TN, the quartet will be setting off on a 20+ date tour, along with Turbo Suit, in celebration of the release of their new EP. This particular release is a rather special one for Zoogma. The band specifically took a light 2015 in order to spend as much time as possible perfecting their craft. The live aspects of a band are certainly important, and sometimes essential in certain scenes, but at the root of it all is simply the music. Their time was obviously well spent, as the resulting New Era EP represents a giant leap forward for the livetronica outfit.
The title track, “New Era,” opens up the EP in fine form. The entire track is rooted in powerful, euphoric synths that permeate the mind and send listeners into the clouds. The bridge is beautiful and simplistic, and the lead guitar hook plays its part phenomenally, gripping listeners and pulling them into the tune.
“Let Me Demonstrate” begins with slick, sporadic production that throws off the listener just enough to be roped back in by heavy synths. While I have always admired Zoogma’s production, the attention to detail, in this track especially, has improved dramatically, reminiscent of some of the best producers out there, while keeping the live aspects well intact. While Zoogma has always been deeply rooted in electronic production, they have never let their fans forget that they are a live band.
The building intro in “High 5” leads into a lighthearted groove with guitar and sax, played by the one and only Khris Royal, trading riffs. The horns play a large role in this tune, resulting in a composed arrangement that comes off in a bit more of a mature manner. The icing on the cake comes in the form of jazzy sax and bass riffs on top of enchanted synths. The mixture is fresh and intoxicating.
Now we come to the big bang of the release. “Molasses” finishes off the EP with a whirlwind of a storm. The deceptively comforting intro build, rooted in drum & bass, culminates in a dirty, bass-heavy drop. The drops are aptly placed in all of the right places, keeping listeners on their toes. Finally, a lengthy guitar solo, focused in strategic phrasing, builds into one final massive drop that rattles the windows.
Overall, the four track effort shows tremendous improvement from Zoogma. It is obvious that they have put in the kind of time and effort that results in true artistry. From top to bottom, the EP is a beautiful collection of excellent tunes. It invades the mind, warms the heart and sooths the soul.
It seems that Zoogma has found some direction. It is no coincidence that the EP’s title comes at a time when the band is focusing strongly on improvement. We are truly witnessing a new era of Zoogma, and the fans should be proud, as well as anxious to witness their improvement on the stage.