Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ZZ Top -Antenna

I just rediscovered this gem and was not sorry I did. Having been a Top fan since '83 and catching them live on the Afterburner tour it is refreshing to hear that this CD has pushed away from the keyboardy, synthish, electric drummy, polished & glitzy sound of old. The trio is thumping heavily in true Top style. For one thing, Gibbons sports a real dry, punchy, meaty, crunchy guitar sound that is surprisingly soothing to the ears. A few solos knock me back in my shoes, particularly the solo to "Breakaway". I personally feel the man is incapable of playing an incorrect note. Guitarists call this gift "phrasing" and Billy has it to give away. To put it mildly, he has a tone that I feel will never and cannot ever be duplicated, if only by him. Hill is on bass, old faithful with a wall of thump and bump and growl and more than ably holding down the bottom solidly. Beard is highly active on the skins and cymbals, without being abrasive and overplaying, then plodding and stable at other times. This shows the true talent of a drummer who has gone from bar-fight blues to rocket boogie to techno-styled dashings back to commanding the foundation of the song. They seem to all 3 be tight and locked in. There are one or two tunes on here that I can live without, but that would be lyrically, not musically. One would think that after 24 years of being RECORDED artists (at this release date, anyway) that they would go stale with songs about women, drinking, partying, cars, compromising situations, and hell-raising, but they always find a way to make the tried and true sound new and ear-opening. They do it well and nobody can ride it as long and successfully as they have. They haven't been together for over 3 decades for nothing. This is not a disappointment by any means. A good CD to pop in with the windows down on a long road trip. Enjoy.

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