A mammoth recording session found Zebrahead recording an album in hardly no time, and that (rather tasty) fruit is now being unleashed in three parts. The second instalment (imaginatively titled II) finds this quirky Californian quintet rocking up a storm and if you like your rapcore/pop-punk bright, breezy and sun kissed, then this EP is for you.
As so is often the case, the arrival of new personnel (guitarist/vocalist Adrian Estrella) has revitalised Zebrahead and like a vitamin shot directly in the jugular, they’re a hyped-up beast who display an abundance of nervous energy. Opening track ‘No Tomorrow’ is the perfect statement of intent and arrives with all guitars firing and drums kicking. That trademark bounce that has characterised their career is ever present and the groove so infectious that only those without a pulse could fail to be moved by their sheer joie de vivre.
Mixing musical styles can often be a dangerous business, and if a band fumbles the ball, they can find themselves in a no man’s land with no appreciable audience to play to. However, Zebreahead are master alchemists and their fusion of punk, metal and rap (once genres that were diametrically opposed) works precisely because their blend is just right. They don’t feel the need to mix styles all the time, but when they do the result is pretty explosive, and the sense of fun that jumps from the grooves garners the band a lot of freedom. While they’re certainly no joke, Zebrahead don’t take themselves too seriously and that makes II strangely life-affirming.
The great thing about a band such as Zebrahead is that they give fans exactly what they want; you know they’re not going to go soft a try to slip a ballad under the radar. That’s not to say they’re generic; far from it. There’s plenty of variety on offer here from the bruising ‘Licking On A Knife For Fun’ to the TexMex flavoured ska-fest found on ‘Evil Anonymous’ II proves itself a shapeshifting beast that refuses to be hemmed in.
As the world continues to be plagued by war, famine and pestilence we should be thankful that there’s always Zebrahead shining their light into the darkness.
- II is released via MFZB Records/Apex Group on 3rd February 2023 and is available here.
- Official Website
- No Tomorrow
- Licking On A Knife For Fun
- Evil Anonymous
- Middle Seat Blues