Gad Zukes - Anyone Out There?

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Review by Liam Taylor. Today I'm listening to the new 5 track +1 bonus track E.P. from Gad ZukesFight The Silence. Opening with a satisfyingly crunchy guitar-driven stacatto, Take Another Shot is an upliftingly combative rocker. The combined female and male vocals put me in mind of Fletwood Mac and Steeleye Span, (if that's not a complement then I'm afraid we can't be friends), but with modern-feeling production, riffs and vocal harmony.

The reggae-infused Make It Happen has a Police-esque rhythm section and catchy vocals. Of particular note are the Stewart Copeland style drums. There's a slightly jarring electro 2nd verse which I imagine would work really well for live performances. It's not so effective on the record, (IMO), but it does serve to add dynamic variety to the piece. The chorus is charminly uplifting: "look towards the future; make it happen, make it happen."

Track 3 is the softer, low-tempo How Can I. There's some interesting chord choices which make this much more than a standard, formulaic ballad. The track features some gentle, tasteful guitar playing along with a steady rhythm section.

Electric Vibe opens with a vocal hook which quickly sets the tone for this memorable stomper. Some expert ukulele playing thickens out the rock ensemble to a degree you wouldn't expect of a ukulele, and also adds a unique sonority which helps the track stand out. Some deft drum fills and walking bass lines remeniscent of early Status Quo will get this track stuck in your head.

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Track 5 starts small - oddly, something in the lead vocals remind me of Jemaine Clements. Perhaps the aquatic theme is putting me in mind of the Moana Soundtrack. As the track progresses, it developes into the kind of massive anthem in which we'd usually expect cheap Millenial Whoops, but GadZukes manage to avoid such cliché.

We're graced by a light and summery bonus track, which keeps the aquatic vibe - in keeping with Loz's fantastic albm art. The Good Stuff features a charming acoustic guitar melody, country bass, simple rhythm and airy vocal harmonies. There's a bit too much too this track to call it "twee", and the cheeky lyrics keep it from feeling too dainty. I agree, we should all "make love... -ly cakes"

Altogether, Anyone Out There? is a solid disk. Fans of Fleetwood Mac, GooGoo Dolls and similar pop-rock acts will find plenty to enjoy here, especially given the diversity between the tracks. If you're lucky enough to get the opportunity to see Gad Zukes live, I highly recommend you take it.

If you like, you can read Mickey Nicholas' review of Gad Zukes' Fight The Silence.

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