The ZutonsWho Killed ... the Zutons?
Daring to ask the question, what if the Animals scored the original Batman film from 1966, Who Killed ... the Zutons? plays like a kitschy spy-movie soundtrack with horns. The record opens with a solo, noticeably '60s, guitar line for the thematic "Zuton Fever" and just as soon as you try to make up your mind about the seriousness of the record (because who seriously puts a theme song on their record?), "Pressure Point" drops into a straight-up rocker. Of course this is then followed up in the next track "You Will You Won't" and the lyrics "You know the dipsydoodle rag, it tells no lie." (Who seriously uses a word like dipsydoodle with a straight face?) There isn't anything ostensibly funny about the lyrics or melodies, but the feel of the record often reverts to cleanly stated quirk.
The reason why becomes more clear after checking out the album credits. These Brits share a producer and a label with their U.K. contemporaries, the Coral, who have managed to carve out a niche presence in the neo-psychedelic indie rock semi-underground.
As the record continues, "Confusion" sets in with a sparse, folky, almost AM radio type of sweetness à la the Lovin' Spoonful. "Remember Me" follows the vibe with a jangling jilted lover angle with the lyrics "I've made a deal with those clouds / gonna turn that sun to rain."
Most every song on the record is extremely bouncy with jangling melodies or hooky guitar bits that invoke the Animals and the Byrds. Other than being an interesting listen from start to finish, what this record achieves is a strong sense of characterization from song to song. It's a pleasant break from the brooding seriousness and over-contemplation of the indie rock mentality, reminding us that it's a good idea to turn off the Bright Eyes records every once in a while for some well-constructed comic book camp.