Review Summary: 100% pure, unadulterated fun.
Zoo Trippin’ is a band that not enough people know, and of all the random obscure bands that I’ve tried to recommend to people, this is the one that I still fail to understand why they haven’t yet broken into the mainstream scene. Their sound appeals well to both mainstream audiences, as well as people that like to pretend that their music taste is better than yours. It’s energetic, full bodied, and above all- absolutely brimming with personality and life.
This particular album has all of this band’s best qualities in spades. It’s short, clocking in at only 19 minutes; it’s not exactly a huge commitment to listen to this whole thing, and given the tone of this ep, it sure as hell isn’t going to feel like 20 minutes. It’s going to fly by, mostly as a result of how enjoyable it is.
From the first track on this thing, it immediately becomes obvious as to exactly what you’re in for: An excellent blend of Jazz, funk, and rock, along with flavorings of some other genres, sprinkled in. “Kansas City Shuffle” is this track, and it’s the best on the album by a longshot. In this particular song, every member gets some time to shine, and it perfectly encapsulates what makes this band so damn good. The horns and guitar are both balanced masterfully, with neither necessarily at the forefront, and being played excellently. The use of both instruments fleshes out the song in a way that is done often, but is done here better than most. And of course, the sound is rounded out with drums and bass (as most songs are), as well as some female backing vocals, and they’re all great. The drumming is energetic, dynamic, and fits perfectly with the song, and the basswork is nothing short of superb. While it often just helps to fill out the low end of the song, and keep the rhythm going, there are intermittent moments of incredibly funky slap, and it’s great. And on the vocal side, the song doesn’t disappoint either, with the vocalist having a rather large range, and being just as capable of singing cleanly, as he is screaming his lungs out. His performances throughout the whole album are just brimming with confidence and swagger, which gives the band more charisma than they could ever need.
The rest of this four track EP follows suit, with the song “Old Dirt Road” slowing down considerably, taking on a darker and more atmospheric approach, with more heavily distorted guitars, and less focus on the horns. This song demonstrates that not only is this band capable of being a bit less lighthearted at times, but the excel at it.
The title track, “Kids These Days” is very energetic, and a whole lot of fun, being a riff driven hard rock song, with some of the best percussion on the album.
And the closer, “Heaven’s Sake” is something of a low point, but is by no means a bad song. Its loud/quiet dynamic keeps it interesting throughout the entirety of its runtime, and the backing vocals are decent, though the song may suffer slightly as a result of them existing.
Overall, this album is just really really good. It doesn’t do anything too horribly groundbreaking, and it’s not going to blow your mind. Its runtime does bring the album down at time, as the whole listening experience can be a little disjointed, as a result of only having four tracks. And given the variation in tone between the songs, mild tonal whiplash can occur, but isn’t a huge issue. But overall, this is still a very good album that is absolutely worth a listen.