Zeahorse – Pools Review

Sydney punk/psych/experimental four-piece Zeahorse will release their debut album, Pools, on Friday. There’s quite a bit of hype surrounding these guys’ debut, following their well-received entrance onto the local scene a few years ago. There are two aspects to Zeahorse’s sound that I really like. The first is their undisputable sonic grittiness. They’re a band that has made a name for themselves from being really amazing live, and great live bands often struggle to transfer this energy and wildness into a studio produced record. Zeahorse have managed to pull it off smoothly, which is quite impressive for a debut album. The second thing I dig about these guys is their effortless fusion of kickass musical genres. Pools is 9 tracks long, and they waver from bratty, party punk to slow building, fiery experimental pieces, to psychedelic, wild belters. All three are equally awesome, and greater than the sum of their parts.

zeahorse - pools

The album’s opener, Career, is four rebellious minutes of guitar reverb, drum rolls and general palette-whetting goodness. It’s unusual in the sense that it feels like the opening track to a live set rather than a record, but it works well to set the tone and momentum for the rest of the album. Pool is up next, and is a swaggering, grungey hit that brings to mind the glory days of Alice in Chains and Electric Wizard. Onion and Tugboat are the two stand-out, drunken party tracks on the album, the latter sounding exactly like what you should play at a party at 3am, just before the windows are smashed and the cops arrive.  Kathie’s Makeover is one of the Zeahorse’s more experimental tracks, and probably my favourite on the album. It’s a 7-minute, fiery exploration of one woman’s descent into complete mediocrity (or so I imagine it), complete with an interesting audio clip of an American woman ranting on about getting her nails done. Instrumental track Pesto has a contemplative calmness to it that closes the album nicely, providing a soothing relief from the 8 tracks of madness that came before it. On first listen, Pools comes across as slightly disjointed in its energy and sound. However, I’m pretty sure its a deliberate effort that these guys have totally pulled off. In the end, it actually adds to the bands appeal, rather than taking away from it. Pools is an awesome full-length debut from Zeahorse, and considering how well they’ve managed to translate a live performance-based sound to a polished recording, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a national album tour – I’m sure any of their shows will be fucking crazy! In the meantime, you can catch them supporting Wolf & Cub in October.