Artist: Zulu Winter
Label: Play it Again Sam
I liked this band better when they were called Coldplay. You probably liked that joke better when you heard David Spade on Weekend Update on SNL, and you probably liked Weekend Update better when it was with Dennis Miller. Modern art is all derivatives of its predecessors and wearing your influences on your sleeve is not necessarily a bad thing, but with Zulu Winter its unmistakable their resemblance to Coldplay. It’s an unfortunate happenstance for Zulu Winter that may or may not have realized this going into the recording of their record, because the album actually sounds great, but you’ll be hard pressed not to think about that other band it sounds like while listening to “Language”.
Resemblances aside, the music of Zulu Winter is very mature for a young group releasing their debut record. The sounds are very lush and serene, but if it wasn’t for the pounding bass and drums you might very well mistake Zulu’s music for what might be described as Adult Contemporary, or Soft Rock. That’s what Coldplay’s music always was, but record labels were very careful not to describe it that way. Hey I’m one to admit that I grew up listening to REO Speedwagon and Mr. Mister on the radio, but there’s also an understanding that those bands were sort of the side dish to the main musical course.
Good for one song or two before you move on to something else with more substance. Listen to any one song on “Language” and you’ll probably be lulled into the steady groove, and steady vocals, and steady musical progression. The songs never shift away from that formula and I’m almost sure that they’re all in the recorded in the same musical time signature, and Will Daunt (Vocals and Guitar) never really deviates from his soft
vocal touches. The opening track “Key to My Heart” is by far the best one on the album, and gives you hope of a direction that will continue to build, but it never does even when they do come up with a few interesting tracks like “Let’s Move Back to Front” and “Never Leave”. If people can judge the band on 3 songs, they might be okay, but if you’re going to listen to 11, you’re going to need a couple cups of coffee to keep your
At my other job at the Planetarium, we had regular laser shows that I would attend, and one of them just happened to be Coldplay, and every time it started I was usually intrigued by a sound that I felt quite pleased with, even if it was a band I never recalled liking. The problem was always by track 4 I was half-asleep, and I feel the same way about Zulu Winter. Sounds great, but they need more variety to their sound.
– Michael Unger