Ignored, Maligned, and Forgotten Music

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Crawling - Zak Smith


I thought I’d post again about Zak Smith as my recent blathering about Cynthia was mostly about my strange mental associations and not much about Mr. Smith or his music (except the part about his voice. That still holds true.)

As I truly am enjoying his self-titled album (for which there’s a release show on April 28th that you might consider if you happen to live near New York) it seems only right that I focus on the music and not lots of other people. So here’s my review and my favorite song on the album, at least so far.

Zak Smith is my favorite kind of musician: the kind who proves that appearances are deceiving. You see that determined expression and you think, “Here comes some cheesy metal or some sloppy grunge.” You’re a game sort so you press play anyway. Instead of painfully-self-indulgent anger or a doubly-painful Nirvana imitation you get a fully-developed suite of interesting, well-produced songs that are wholly-original rock and roll.

You now do a happy dance, because getting new, good music does that to you. Then you settle down and listen because Zak (you’re starting to feel like you can call him that, now) wrote actual, meaningful lyrics and you’re missing them. Those ladies kick in on back-up and you think, “Oh, yeah!” And that’s just the first song, which is pretty mellow.

Now, the official single pre-released is Brand New Party and if you click you can watch a video about Occupy Wall Street. It’s most definitely worth your time but it’s not quite the best the album offers.

Keep listening to the album and you’ll bump into Crawling. From start to finish this one keeps your toes tapping while you groove on the imagery. “You be the ark and I’ll be the flood,” he croons roughly and you picture it, a strange sort of love song for a relationship that could use a little lifting over the rocky parts.

That’s pretty apt for a lot of the album. You can let it wash over you, enjoying the melody and the catchy chorus, or you can dig into the lyrics and get a glimpse of Zak Smith himself. For the record, I still think he sounds like a cross between Jim Bianco—but without the sly wink around which most of Bianco’s music seems to be built—and Martin Sexton. Lyrically he’s more Jackson Browne. I like Jackson Browne.

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