Zero City roar onto the scene with teeth-baring debut ‘Contortions’

Taking the title as more of an instruction, ‘Contortions’ sees prog-rock band Zero City flexibly foray into everything from jazz to anthemic balladry.  

Zero City have bared their teeth on ‘Contortions’, a sprawling prog-rock collection that serves as the Naarm/Melbourne band’s debut album.

Released today (May 31), the eight-track project was recorded last year, and showcases the four-piece in all their noisy and revelrous glory.

Zero City 'Contortions'

‘Contortions’ opens with the uncontrolled distortion of ‘Screensaver’, which is carried by offbeat rhythms, screechy guitar lines and an explosive chorus. 

For all its unbridled cacophony, the album opener makes room for more melodic flourishes, from regal horn sections to the improvisational feel of jazz.

This spirit of diversity continues on ‘Why am I?’, which brims with brooding and melancholic guitar melodies and heads into fuzz rock territory. Here, Zero City flex their indie-rock muscles, with summery riffs and a powerhouse vocal performance. 

It’s a welcome change of pace for ‘Contortions’, showcasing the band’s eclectic sonic palette and ability to traverse the broad umbrella of rock.

Zero City 'Contortions'

‘Cadence’ dips into balladry with simplistic instrumentation before erupting into jazz-rock euphoria, while ‘New Shoes’ serves as the album’s rawest cut with candid vocals and  

It’s one of multiple tone and beat switches felt on ‘Contortions’, an album that flits between sounds with reckless abandon and at a break-neck pace.

If there’s anything that binds the project, it’s Zero City’s flair for jazz which, when blended with their noisier tendencies, feels like what you might get if a 1920s speakeasy was populated solely by metalheads. 

Zero City pair all of it with incisive penmanship, waxing philosophical on everything from the deafening pleasure of their genre (‘Take Zero (Deafening Pleasure)’) to long-awaited and ill-fated reunions (‘New Shoes’) and heartwarming love stories (‘The Trees Will Grow’).


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The lattermost track is an album standout, finding the band at their most stripped-back atop airy harmonies and sparse guitar lines. 

On ‘House Fire’, Zero City deliver jungle-like drums and roaring instrumentation to muse on the climate crisis, pairing the impending doom of the lyrics with an equally catastrophic sound.

The band’s efforts culminate on ‘Under My Skin’, an album closer that distils their genre-hopping sounds into an effortless and resplendent soft-rock cut, but not before an eruption of triumphant noise in the final moments.

‘Contortions’ is clearly the work of a band who’ve mastered their sonic lane, made doubly impressive given that it’s only their debut effort.

With a first project as good as this, the future is bright for Zero City. Listen to the Melbourne/Naarm band’s debut album ‘Contortions’ below.