Jim Griffin, known to me as an acid-tinged troubadour of some style, also has a spacerock-prog hybrid going under the moniker of Zombie Picnic. Their latest album, Rise Of A New Ideology, has an optimistic sounding title that, like the long drawn out demise of Pat Phelan on Corrie, one hopes its arrival is just around the corner.
Sumptuously produced, the guitars echo and fight among themselves on the undeniable Porkies-influenced opener Democracy Cannot Survive, the tune dissipating in a rumble of thunder, collective chins being stoked in intellectual contemplation. Using spoken word found sound insertions in place of singing, looking at the titles on this record makes me wish it had lyrics.
The languorous beats of the opening track are soon discarded for an altogether more angsty approach from here on in. If I still had the appropriate length of hair it would get a good shaking to the spacerock trip around the Sun that is They See Science As Dangerous, which includes a smile-raising if obvious lift from the press room at the White House “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.”
Made for vinyl, with two 20-minute sides, we mentally flip the LP if we have the CD or digital file, and side two repeats the laid-back groove opening of side one, but it soon reaches escape velocity, leaving behind a murky cloud of burned rocket fuel. DEFCON also features some superior geetar wrangling by Mr Griffin and/or Mr Tobin.
The album progresses with driving beats and some nice melodic touches, dreamily drifting sections, and the occasional lick that seems familiar. No envelopes are being pushed here, but that is not really the point, as Rise Of A New Ideology is essentially a guitar rock album of some merit. Leave the experimenting to the boffins, and shake that hair around!
They leave the best until last, a furiously punky assault that starts off like Wire had been a heavy metal group in an alternate reality. Marvellous!
Sometimes you don’t need to be searching for the just out of reach in order to make good music, although it often helps. Zombie Picnic’s ultimately conventional approach and sometimes reverential melding of influences is nonetheless entertaining of itself. Unlike Pat Phelan this band were never in danger of being buried alive in (musical) wet concrete, as their natural energy and obvious passion lifts them beyond the turgid, no mean feat indeed. I would bet they are a blast in a live setting too!
01. Democracy Cannot Survive (9:00)
02. They See Science As Dangerous (9:09)
03. DEFCON (5:01)
04. Life Support Systems (4:50)
05. See Beyond (5:53)
06. Anger In Storage (Denial Will Follow) (3:19)
Total Time – 37:15
Jim Griffin – Guitar
Dave Tobin – Guitar
Brendan Miller – Drums
Brian Fitzgerald – Bass
Record Label: Golden Shred Records
Country of Origin: Ireland
Date of Release: 9th March 2018