Music News

The Zutons

What with all the recent '80s disinterment, it's good to see a young band looking beyond its older brother's generation for influence. Heralded in their native Liverpool, the Zutons ply earnest '60s hindsight and work some eerie déjà vu juju on their stateside debut. The quintet is a garage band in the truest sense: Its unpolished, smokin'-under-the-bleachers demeanor isn't a thrift store affectation but a result of seemingly accidental genius. Who Killed revisits the spook-pop swagger of the Zombies, the soul claps of Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and Dr. John's midnight swamp boogie with the same twist of limey that the Stones put on Jerry Lee and Muddy Waters.

The Zutons' thrill lies in their sheer guts and glory, though singer/guitarist Dave McCabe could use a little more smoke to rough up his glistening pipes. Abi Harding's sax hits just right on the rootsy funk of "Pressure Point," "Havana Gang Brawl" is a boiling neo-Motown shakedown, and the acoustic "Confusion" spills well-mellowed Canned Heat. Their recent breakout performance opening for the Killers at the Culture Room showed that given free reign, these psych-blues acolytes can out-voodoo just about anyone.

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Jonathan Zwickel