Benjo (vocals/keys), Isaiah (bass), Dean (drums) and Mandy (vocals) are Zacoma. The band from South Carolina recently released Feet For Miles. It’s a mixed album showing some inspired aspects as well as things that could use a bit of tweaking.
The music in a lot of ways is technically impressive. The drumming for instance on “A Timely Exit” is pretty incredible, however maybe a bit over board. You could say the same about most of the instrumentation. There is a lot going on sometimes to the detriment of letting the vocals feel like the focal center.
Mandy and Benjo harmonize quite often on this album. They are hit or miss with their delivery although I’d say they hit more often. They can sometimes get into a bit of trouble when going for higher octaves. Speaking of the vocals there is a theatrical element to them. I wouldn't be surprised if they were theater majors. Something about the exaggerated vocal delivery feels like it could be from a play.
After a rather sparse intro they get going with “Threads of Denmark” which sounds a bit like the Charlie Brown theme song on steroids. For better or worse there aren’t many hooks in the song. There are some catchy parts with repeated listens but nothing you will be humming along with after the first time you hear it.
“Shiny” felt more intense at times than it needed to be. The band almost refuses to relax and fall into a groove. I was reminded a bit of Ben Folds on this song in some ways. “The Rig” contains arguably some of the best vocal harmonies and hooks on the album as the bands goes into a stronger second half.
The centerpiece is the seven minute “Sink” which is where the band starts to shine. The band gets a little experimental and adds a wood instrument which sounded good on them. “Haberdashery” was a highlight. The bass line reminded me of Primus at points and I thought the transitions were solid. They close strong with the very catchy “Thirty-nine” and “Death Don't Pick On Me.”
Production wise the album could use some tweaks. The main issue was the muddiness that needed to be EQ’d. A couple of dips between 200 - 300 hz would have helped with the mids and making the piano and vocals feel more prevalent.
Their music is somewhere between The Decemberists and Ben Folds to me. They are on to something here but I think they should focus a little more on the aesthetics rather than being technically impressive. Overall, I’d say this is a solid start and I look forward to their evolution.
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