ZZZ top

Hailing from Amsterdam and consisting of two former house mates, zZz have apparently built up something of a live reputation with their electronic, darkly absurd, twisted take on psychobilly blues. Sound of zZz is their first LP and across its 11 tracks it largely succeeds in its demented mission to combine the electrified drone of Suicide, the buzz saw guitars of The Cramps and the umm buffoonery of Jim Morrison. The later influence on the vocals though does turn it into cabaret at times and steers it too far into comedy territory. The genius of the speedball rockabilly of The Cramps is that they always know when to pull things back from the edge of farce to retain their edge.

Where things succeed in spades are with the tracks, 'Ecstasy': relentless organ stabs, machine hum and whispered vocals a la Alan Vega, 'House Of Sin': raging voodoo drums, sleazoid vocals and electroid effects, 'Hammerhead': 1 min burst of primal garage rock, 'Lucy': swirling organ, again conjuring up the spirit of Suicide, 'Godspeed': demented high velocity burst with a sweet dreamy breakdown and 'Uncle Sam': soundtrack to the apocalypse.

Where things go astray is when the influence of Jim Morrison is at its most pervasive. Whereas Suicide conjured up the spirit of Elvis through Alan Vega's ghostly vocals and in the process confronted the death of the American dream head on, summoning up Morrisson just elicits visions of bad poetry and a dead alcoholic. Tracks like 'Soul', 'LaLaLa' and 'Roses' are vocally on the verge of karaoke and sound trite although they do contain some rather full on machine funk.

A promising debut that marries its influences well and one that sounds like it's following its own path, rather than being led down the rather more well trodden path of fashion.