Friday, February 19, 2010
It's hard not to push Zeus into the stratosphere after an out-of-nowhere EP that offered a brief glimpse at the heights they can reach. The retro-fueled quartet from Toronto has been working hard to find their sound; whether as part of successful and highly underrated bands (The 6ixty Eights and The Golden Dogs) or out on tour as Jason Collett's backing band, and as hard as it is to not build a comparison on another multi-voiced band that got it's start playing behind a great artist, it's even harder to ignore the obvious mythological tie-in to the power and status the band could achieve.
But for me, Say Us actually brings another classic tale to mind. Icarus was given the gift of flight thanks to the precision craftsmanship of his father Daedalus. Zeus too rockets from the ground with hooks, harmonies and melodies that are indebted to their predecessors (The Beatles, The Kinks and yes, The Band ). Don't get me wrong, the band puts their own, more muscular spin on the sweet sounds music lovers have gravitated to for years, and naturally, that swagger and confidence pushes band higher and higher. Sadly at times, Say Us gets too close to the sun, singing the tips of the wings that gave the band flight.
But unlike the classic tale of the impetuousness of youth, great music only comes from taking risks, especially when you find the ingredients in a cupboard pillaged by countless bands. Zeus thrives on a confidence and precision that results in a musical freedom and while Say Us might not be the start to finish transcendent escape we all hoped for, for the precious moments when they soar without fear or repercussion (How Does It Feel?, Kindergarden, and I Know stack up against any of the output of any Canadian band out there today), this TO quartet owns the sky and you realize with a bit more patience there's no limit to the heights they can fly.
MP3:: Zeus - Marching Through Your Head