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Top Customer Reviews
So what has it got that makes me want to keep playing it? well if your'e a long term fan you'll recognise all the recycled licks and regurgitated riffs,so it not innovation,but dammit my foot taps and i keep smiling while its playin'.. so what is it? , I'll tell you what it is, its the passion's back,the soul is back,the funk is back,Rubin - love him or hate him has re-ignited the 'spark' in this band. There's a glorious groove about this disc with some beautiful lead guitar by Mr Gibbons, superbly supported by the backing of Hill and Beard(minimalistic playing and all the more welcome for it).Highlights certainly 'Over You','Heartache in Blue','I Dont Wanna Lose You' and 'Have a Little Mercy'.
It might be damning it with faint praise but it is easily the best ZZ Top disc since Eliminator(although Mescalero came close),having let it sink in over the last few days,i've warmed to it, so 3.5 stars potentially 4,,cant wait for the next one.
I recall being disappointed with my first listen of Recycler in 1990. As the follow-up to Afterburner I felt seriously let down with the lack of technological sounds.
Then it became my favourite album. The tunes were grittier, bluesier, but great. And you could hear the band play! It wasn't just Billy in a room with a guitar, a drum machine and a producer replacing Frank and Dusty.
A change of label to RCA brought us Antenna in 1994. It was hailed as a 'back to basics' return to form. There was some great stand-tracks like PCH, Breakaway, and Cherry Red. But it certainly lacked great tunes overall, and really wasn't the 'return to form' the critics suggested. That is assuming those critics were referring to the bands early days of Rio Grande Mud and Tres Hombres, which at this point I was going back on my original interest and realising what a fantastic trio these guys were!
And 'were' was the point. Because Rhythmeem in 96 was another turn for the worse in my new found love of bass, guitar, drums and a good melodic lyric. Instead (with the exception of the first single What's up With That) it was tuneless grungey filtered nonesence. And to me sounded more over-produced with crazy effects than Afterburner!
Then we had XXX in '99. Although it's in my collection, I'd rather not even think about it. I can't believe my favourite band would even issue this as an album. More effects, noises, yes there's guitar, but no songs! It was a joke!Read more ›
Rubin never ventures too far from the established template. If anything he helps usher the band back to their earlier roots with a dirty, grinding, greasy, bluesy sound that whilst never less than respectful of their
previous highs still manages to bring things bang up to date.
There are some surprises, prominent among them "I Gotsta Get Paid", a grungy re-working of a 1990s hip-hop track denoting the ups and downs of a Texan drug dealer's life, reimagined in typical lazy mid-paced fashion. ZZ Top don't seem in too much of a hurry to do anything these days, witness the length of time it reportedly took them in the studio this time; over three years which, given the nature of what it is they actually do and how they do it, is surprising to say the least.
Rubin really comes into his own on tracks like "Heartache In Blue" where guitars, rhythm section and harp coalesce effectively into a striking 21st century blues, whilst the band's penchant for innuendo is still alive and well, witness "Big Shiny Nine", a companion piece - if you like - to "I Got The Six" off their breakthrough album "Eliminator".
The compulsory ballad "Over You" owes more than a passing nod to "Sure Got Cold After The Rain Fell", and elsewhere there are other echoes of earlier works, perhaps unsurprising after so many decades in the saddle.
But, somehow, aided and abetted by the estimable Mr Rubin these undisputed masters of three-chord rock have still summoned up the energy, vitality and creativity to create another winning album that more than holds its own with the best that this trio has produced since those distant heady days of the 1980s.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Album... bought it 3 times now as I keep misplacing it !!Published 25 days ago by Barry The Butcher
Good album if not one of their best. It doesn't play on my car CD player for some reason.Published 1 month ago by Aurora Sinclair
Well of the pace of their classic 70s LPs. Low on tunes and Gibbons guitar lacks the subtlety and fluency of his classic work. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eleanor Hamilton
This album is what i love about ZZ Top blues rock but always with a sense of humour, i have followed the band for 30 plus years and they never disappoint superb, postage and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Clive Little