Review Summary: For those who like their meat without the fat.
A general problem with the subjectivity of music is balance. There's never been any particular consensus that states how to balance depth and repetition within music. To put it plainly, a lot of things end up over staying its welcome. Like in culinary arts, balance is essential, and the last thing any chef wants to hear is how boring their meal became half way through. Whilst impossible to truly cater to everyone's taste, it's safe to say that some primary ingredients have a wider appeal than others. Obviously it's not just about the ingredients, but at the same time, it's not just about how complex or intricate the end product can be. Difficult, isn't it? Yet there is balance somewhere, and Zico Chain may very well have succeeded in finding one and making it their own.
As the name suggests, Food
is a thick, meaty affair. It's immediately very clear who are the main influences for Zico Chain; Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age. The gritty aesthetic and hard hitting riffs are extremely reminiscent of the two, even going far enough to basically have a carbon copy of QOTSA's 'No One Knows', slowed down but still instantly recognisable. That's not to take any credit away from Zico Chain, however. They may model themselves after their myriad of clear influences, but Food
is an album that excels not in originality, but in simple yet effective songwriting. With the longest song on the album being under 3 and a half minutes, it's clear that Zico Chain have no intentions in hanging around and wasting time. All songs are crafted to be as concise as possible, sticking to the compositional basics and trims off all the unnecessary fat as a result. 'Last Weeks Genius', 'Anaemia' and 'Pretty Pictures' collectively prove how powerful Zico Chain can be with immediately catchy riffs, powerful chorus' and emphatic melodies. Possibly the best aspect of Food
, however, goes to singer Chris Glithero's vocals. They're a combination of a rough, melodic and sometimes even scream like quality. Not the kind of thing to turn heads, but something that brings out the best in the instrumentation of this album. What's even more impressive is that Chris also, on several occasions, uses a softer, quieter quality of his voice that's within the lower region of his capabilities, such as on 'Preach', which makes the entire experience a little less predictable and adds some much needed vocal variation.
That's not to say that this is perfect, by any means. Some melodies pale in contrast to others, such as 'Rollover', whilst the lack of overall sonic variation really makes the album as a whole feel longer than necessary. Without a doubt, the weakest link of this album goes to the track 'All Eyes On Me'. Whilst not deviating from the rest of the album too much, it denotes a ridiculous misstep from their seemingly strong songwriting sensibilities. It feels almost out of place, with a cheesy, cringeworthy chorus, uninspired verse melodies and a riff that doesn't suit the song at all. Even the individual elements of the song are unsavoury and weak; it's a wonder why Zico Chain even included this on the album in the first place.
It's interesting that they decided to title this as Food
. If it were a type of food, It would not be the kind that takes years of training or exquisite skill to create, nor would it be the type that is complex with highly rewarding depth. Instead, it is a simple experience done well. It's a breed of elementary grunge that most struggle to do so well, because finding a balance is challenging. Listening to this may not uncover feelings of revitilisation, but that was never its purpose. Rather than that, it's a satisfying and straightforward meal that fills anyone up and asks for nothing more, and who could ever ask for more?