Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Zammuto - Zammuto

Zammuto is a new indie synthpop group with electro-infused grooves formed by members of now-defunct The Books. I hear great things about The Books all the time, but after listening to Zammuto's self-titled, I can't really say I'm excited to check them out if they're similar in the slightest.

This IS indie synthpop. I knew that going in I would be subject to experimental beats and odd computerized sounds, hoping many of them didn't feel cheap. Luckily most of the sounds used on here have a bit of grit to them, making it accessibly dirty. The songwriting bounces around between funk-grooves (see: "Zebra Butt"), math rock guitar riffing on "Groan Man, Don't Cry," and more complacent, straightforward beats like on "Weird Ceiling." Like a jack-of-all-trades, Zammuto are a master of none of these styles, and the horrid vocal distortions and mixing make it painful to listen to.

There's only so much of a vocoder one can take. I mean if you think you can handle more, go for it, but I certainly can't. Zammuto abuses the effect until your own hatred for it will make you want to join the band in beating the computer (or pedal) into a bloody pulp. It's disgustingly overused on literally every track that its presence is felt, except perhaps "Idiom Wind" which is a nice, mellowed out break that comes too early in the album to serve as one.

My irritation when listening to the vocals is mostly due to the mixing. As primarily a pop album, Zammuto's self-titled has the vocals mixed very high, and thus they overpower the beats and harmonies that the album tries so hard to envelop the listener with. The only exceptions to this would be "Idiom Wind" and the closer, "Full Fading" which features a melancholic vocal line and chord progression. It sounds like Bon Iver, which isn't much of a good thing, but it works well here.

Zammuto's self-titled isn't entirely on the level of horrible I've made it seem. Some of the beats are pretty cool, and I like the riff-heavy sound of "Zebra Butt," the mellow progression on "Shape Of Things To Come," and the intro to "Groan Man, Don't Cry," but some of the tracks reach self-indulgent levels of annoyingness, and the shit mixing doesn't help either.

4.75 out of 10


1 Yay
2 Groan Man, Don't Cry
3 Idiom Wind
4 Crabbing
5 F U C-3PO
6 Too Late To Topologize
7 Zebra Butt
8 Weird Ceiling
9 Harlequin
10 The Shape Of Things To Come
11 Full Fading

Stream here.

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