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ZOO OWL play Milk Glass on July 17 (album release party). Rating: NNNN
Ex-OPOPO singer Bryan Sutherland's trippy new electronic solo act has quickly achieved the same buzz status once held by his old band, thanks in large part to theatrical live performances that combine lighting tricks, weirdo props and costume pieces into an immersive, surreal experience.
But this full-length debut shows that Sutherland's dark, introspective jams stand on their own. More subdued and experimental than OPOPO's full-on electro party rock, Sutherland's thoughtful left-field compositions draw from a grab bag of stylistic influences including IDM, dancehall, house and hip-hop. The result is catchy musical collages that often eschew conventional verse/chorus structure - but get stuck in your head all the same. Opener Twin Mirror is anchored by a simple, hooky riff and a propulsive groove that dares you not to bob along. On Nemesis and Breakout, Sutherland's stadium-sized vocal acrobatics are front and centre, while Ritual Revival takes a more delicate tack, sounding like a long-lost Amnesiac-era Radiohead b-side.
Top track: Twin Mirror