Finding your niche is key in the development of any up and coming band; it’s a case of trial and error in finding where the best fit lies. For Zero Era, this point has not yet been reached. The young band’s debut EP, ‘The Moderate Excess’, is a mishmash of influences and styles that makes for an unbalanced and uneasy listen.
Album opener The Moderate Excess is a case in point; a song that sounds like a cross between early Chilli Peppers and early Blur. The funk/baggy hybrid mixes about as well as water and oil, with nothing on the track clicking. The guitar and the rhythm section seem completely at odds; at times it feels as if they’re playing different songs. The vocals don’t help either; Enda Cahill’s laconic delivery is more attuned to indie than to funk. It all combines for a song that’s completely lacking in cohesion.
The band opts for a more traditional hard rock sound on Spectator. Though the verse could do with a beefier sound, the song is a still an improvement on the opener. There’s more structure to this one and with its catchy chorus, there’s the bones of a good song here. The band manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory though by dragging the song out for 6 minutes, taking it on an unnecessary change of direction around the mid-way point.
This Girl Controls the Tide sees the band try their hand at another funk/baggy number and while it’s considerably less disastrous than the opener, the bad ultimately outweighs the good. Once again, the song is too long and it has the same disjointed feel that characterises the entire EP.
Even for a debut offering this is a very underwhelming effort. Everything on here sounds haphazard and over indulgent; the band really could do with taking heed of the advice that sometimes ‘less is more’. A change of musical direction should be considered too; they don’t sound comfortable playing funk music at all. Things are not irredeemable though, these young lads are competent musicians and there are glimmers of promise in the second and third songs on this EP. If they’re going to go anywhere a big improvement will be needed on their next release.