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'Sonic Child'
(Napalm Records)

Joe Geesin

joe geesin


Formed in 2010 in Munster, Germany, blues infused band Zodiac have gotten to their third album promptly, which follows on from last year's acclaimed 'A Hiding Place' very nicely.

I'd never heard of the band before, but I was looking forward to reviewing the whole album after checking out both the title track and the excellent 'Penny And A Dead Horse', for which videos have been made. So imagine my disappointment with opener intro 'Who I Am', the music electronic (even the drums sound processed) and could be from cryptic film, the narration adding to the art installation effect. Almost lounge music.

That's all change from the opening blast of 'Swinging On The Run', a crunchy earthy and energetic number. Mid tempo with a definite groove, and a fair instrumental break with an excellent bluesy guitar solo; a better opener surely.

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The title track then follows in a similar fashion, with rich and melodic vocals and some decent riffs, and the solid rhythm section holding it together. The video sees the band in the studio and seeing them play close-up makes you appreciate the intricacies of the playing.

'Holding On' is slightly faster, and equally driving, a touch of Thin Lizzy. Opening with a drum flurry, the bass and guitars mix well.

'Sad Song' is just that, a suitably acoustic and atmospheric ballad. A touch of slide to the guitar and feeling to the vocals, some vocal harmonies, over the strumming.

'Out Of The City' is another mid tempo rocker, with a bluesy feel and driving rhythm. The rock'n'roll piano is a little quiet in the mix though. The bass in the middle of the song (under an excellent guitar line) is the kind of thing Iron Maiden or Saxon would play when gearing up for the sing-along.

The aforementioned 'Penny And A Dead Horse' is very mid western – seven minutes of blues opening with some excellent acoustic guitar work before some rolling and thunderous bass and drums come in. This is really a stand out track on the album.

The musical story told in the nine minute 'Rock Bottom Blues' kicks off in a Floydian manner and moves into a heavy blues direction with touches of Gary Moore. Magic, entrancing too.

Overall an excellent album; touches of ZZ Top and even (non-boogie) mid 70s Foghat too. But definitely marks off for that opening track. That said, if you like blues mixed with classic rock, go watch those two videos and you'll want the album.

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