Zzoorrcchh (Sargent House)
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., July 26, 2013
ZorchZzoorrcchh (Sargent House)
Blasting beyond musical conventions, yet loaded with euphoric pop, Austin's overachieving experimental duo Zorch have, on their debut album, created a wild anomaly of palatable pandemonium and soulful robot music. From the get-go, long-armed drummer Shmu multitasks with serene lead vocals on undeniable standout "We All Die Young," coming together with headbanging key-pusher Zac Traeger for a fuck-yeah chant: "What a day, let's celebrate it! I want to feel elated!" That establishes a jubilant mood that carries into the album's finest sequence, "It's Kind of a Deal Where..." and "This is the Way it Goes," which intersperses a tuneful pop hook with digital Afro-beat interludes and aggro breakdowns. Although accusing Zorch of overindulgence seems utterly ridiculous considering it's the foundation of the band, seven-minute instrumental "Mutwa" murders all momentum with epic pointlessness and criminal overuse of the Mario "power up" noise. "Zut Alors" recovers with a "Baba O'Riley"-like intro, setting up the hilarious verse: "Giant surprise, we are lizards disguised, and we're controlling your lives, with trilateral spies." Former cassette single, "Cosmic Gloss" puts a sampler through its paces for 10 minutes of shimmering trip-pop, only to be followed by the disappointing conclusion of "Oceans Dawn," a track that sounds more fun to play than to listen to. Zorch's potential for brilliance and vexation are on parade here, and happily there's more of the former than the latter on Zzoorrcchh.