Review: Jack Foley
ZOOT Woman's eponymous second album has one major selling point
- the presence of Jacques Lu Cont (the electronic genius behind
Les Rythmes Digitales and a frequent collaborator with Madonna).
Hence, the album is littered throughout with the Lu Cont trademarks
- plenty of electronic synthesisers, done in a pop style, and
complemented by some vocals.
In fact, it is the vocals that are the weakest aspect of the
album, as they are not distinctive enough to sway you either way.
But the beats, for the most part, work well, and when left on
their own, as in Calmer, Zoot Woman comes into its
own, as an album.
Calmer is a really excellent record, riddled with compulsive
beats, and moody soundscapes, which would provide a dreamy existence.
There is a laidback quality about it, which makes it simply great
to listen to, placing it into territory more typically reserved
for the likes of Bonobo, or a Ninja label.
Sadly, the rest of the album struggles to achieve such heights.
There is too much of a tendency to inhabit the Euro-school of
electronica, which places mainstream sensibilities above anything
too hard, dirty, or atmospheric.
Jean Michel Jarre is an influence, and it's easy to see why,
particularly as, when not striving to find its way into some European
club venue, the album also possesses a hopelessly 80s feel.
Tracks such as Useless Anyway, Maybe Say and Taken
It All are far too throwaway, and instantly forgettable.
All of which fail to do justice to the brighter moments, such
as opening track and former single, Grey Day, which functions
perfectly well as a dark slice of pop-electronica, or the acoustic
ballad, Snow White (during which the vocals appear to head
off into Radiohead territory), which possesses a neatly haunting
Lu Cont's presence may serve to ensure the album is worth listening
to, but it might also be its biggest hindrance. A mixed bag, then.
1. Grey Day
2. Taken it all
4. Hope in the Mirror
5. Snow white
6. Woman Wonder
8. Useless Anyway
9. Maybe Say
10. Half Full of Happiness