Bland without being horrible, this album will probably bore you.
Time No Place/Kompact, 2013
I have an confession to make. If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you’ve probably noticed I mostly like metal, classic rock, and ’90s alt-rock and grunge. It probably comes as a surprise, then, that I have an absolutely ridiculous weakness for ’80s new wave and post-punk. Given that little tidbit of information, you’d think I’d be all about this new one from Zoos of Berlin. You’d be wrong. These guys (Will Yates, Collin Dupuis, Daniel I. Clark, and Trevor Naud) hail from Detroit and have a sound that’s been described by others as being similar to Roxy Music, Low-era David Bowie, Joy Division (minus the depressing stuff), and others. As for me, I’m calling it Modern English meets a-ha, but only in that the sound of Lucifer in the Rain draws from the more insipid end of the spectrum of both those bands. Other review/interview sites have praised Zoos of Berlin for being pop geniuses, but I simply don’t agree.
There are a few interesting songs here, like the shimmering album opener “Above the Air”. “I Went Too Shapeless in the Night” is a bit faster than other offerings, and actually sounds a bit like The Cure during The Head on the Door era. I’m okay with that. The album wraps up with “Movie on August Ray” which is somewhat silly musically and features an unapologetically cheesy keyboard line, and it’s actually a lot of fun. Overall, though, these songs are the only really good ones here. “Last Decade”? Nope. “On the Dock with Carlita”? Bleh opening. Bleh everything. It’s a stupid love song. “Open the Wine”? You’ll need a bottle before this song (and all of Lucifer in the Rain, really) gets interesting.
The Bottom Line: There’s a sort of 1980s spacey pop sensibility going on here, but I found Zoos of Berlin’s latest to be totally uninteresting.
I could find exactly bugger-all for videos of anything from Lucifer in the Rain, so here’s one from the EP Pallister’s Chant. You may rest assured that it’s better than anything on this newest album.