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Melbourne’s NO ZU needs no introduction. Leading the charge at the forefront of the Heat Beat movement, the genre-bending octet never cease to amaze even beyond life itself. The group’s latest offering, Afterlife serves to appease all your cravings for music and dance ’til the end of time. Infusing a vast variety of musical influences and intellectual ideas, their latest album is a magnificently glorious melting pot, which makes all the things that should sound so wrong together, sound so incredibly delectable and euphoric.
Polyrhythmic post-punk intertwines with clubhouse chaos on NO ZU’s Afterlife and there only one thing it will make you want to do: boogie until the end of days.
NO ZU’s percussion-heavy funk has successfully brought together no wave, funk, house, techno, and global percussion in perfect harmony. According to the band, Afterlife “explores themes of human beauty, body movement, BDSM, belief systems, mortality, immortality, the fetishisation of Australian colonial invasion and destruction of land/cultures, all sung in dynamic dancefloor metaphors.” While these themes could have easily been drowned within the rhythmic density of their music, the group has managed to discover the perfect meeting ground for both melody and meaning.
The lead single from the album, Spirit Beat, possess all the essential qualities which shall henceforth be known as the classic NO ZU jam. Repetitive vocals chanting behind the backdrop, the sultry and sassy saxophone bass chiming in every now and then, a dash of horns, and a hell of a lot of cowbells.
The eclectic group have created a new paradigm in polyrhythmic post-punk and contemplative club chaos that transcends beyond this realm, urging every fibre within your body to move like there’s no tomorrow. Harmonised saxophones greet the listeners with elated fervour in Ui Yia Yia, which contains a cowbell inflected groove reminiscent of dance-punk groups like The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem.
There are many subtle touches within this album and it requires careful listening in order to discover its hidden gems. From the piercing shriek of a whistle, the hammering of a bongo, the gentle touch of synths hitting all the pleasure hot spots on your body – all of these elements come together to create a sound that is all-encompassing and undeniably satisfying. This is an album which demands repeat listening, rewarding listeners with newfound soundbites every single time. NO ZU’s colourful sound is ever more pronounced, coming into greater focus with each new release. Solid from the beginning to the end, Afterlife touches upon a diverse number of sounds and influences without ever sounding forced.
Let the apocalyptic dance party begin and dance your mortal coil away with NO ZU’s Afterlife!
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