Earl Zinger - Put your phazers on stun throw your health food skyward (Studio K7)
Quirky title, quirky album - in all the right ways. 'Put your phasers…' is simply crammed with wit, invention and originality. Take, for example, the stroke of genius behind Zinger's heavily dubbed-out re-working of Blur's thrashy guitar anthem on 'Song 2wo' - the catchy mosh-inducing power chords of the original giving way to a fat, rolling bass line, echo effects and Zinger's wonderfully horizontal stoner vocals. Class. Then there's the complete irreverence of the long overdue and well deserved anti-Ibizan rant 'Escape from Ibiza', perfectly showcasing Zinger's endearing, understandable and humorously expressed hatred of Europe's trendiest party destination, superstar DJ's, fluffy bras and all associated mainstream falseness.
Zinger doesn't flinch at negatively name-checking a plethora of normally untouchable A-list jet-set DJ's in a lyrically dense tongue-in-cheek party tune, a tale of brand name hedonism gone well and truly pear-shaped. Very funny indeed. Sleeve notes tell us that this one was produced by 'Zinger + The Les Battersby Cubano Orchestra', is the Corrie star doing some very unlikely moonlighting? I doubt it!
With this album and name change, the former frontman with acid jazz hip-hop beatniks Galliano, Rob Gallagher is obviously trying to step out from under the shadow of this weighty pedigree. However, it's this very pedigree and resultant voice of experience, knowledge and confidence which shine on this album, and afford Zinger the right to give Blur guitar anthems the Sly & Robbie treatment, to poke fun at the naffness of dance music's Holy Grail, and also to borrow wholesale the bass-line and subtly melancholic guitar riff from Badly Drawn Boy's outstanding 'Once Around the Block' on the sublime and often ridiculous 'Go Round'.
The flipside, or second half, also delivers…in a big way - the sheer quality and range of musical styles and influences on show here is at times quite astonishing. Hot on the heels of a super-cheesy 'Ritzy' nightclub MC introduction over old school rocker's beats (no title given), we're taken on a weird, deep and bleepy electro journey with the throaty distortion of 'Crooked Man', then to some seriously funky ass-wigglin' bass and whigged-out analogue action in the dancefloor-wrecking 'Galaxy' (tipping the style cap firmly in Jimi Tenor's direction here I think). Zinger re-visits his strange preoccupation with giving the bass-line a pulse with 'The Story of the Heaviest Bass-line in the World…Ever!', the woeful tale of a monster bass-line 'created in some studio on the East side', beware, steer clear of it, 'never let its shadow over you, it's crushed once, it'll crush again!'. Scary stuff, watch your bass bins readers, there's violence in there!
'Return of the Jabberwock' ('recorded live in Kingsland High Road 26.10.00 10.45p.m.'!) cleverly plays with nonsensical language which somehow makes sense amidst the street noise. We'll probably never work out the full story, but I think the Jabberwock in question is ultimately slain by a gangland bullet…aaaaah, very sad!
The whole feast closes on a truly beautiful downbeat note with 'Did They Write on You?'. Sad melodica (a small wind instrument with a keyboard, famously championed by Augustus Pablo), deep, easy bass, delicate piano keys and a strange whispered vocal ('Did they write on you, my beautiful princess?' Eh?) all join forces to produce an essential mellowness and sad calm for late, rainy nights. A fitting close to a stunning album, if you'll pardon the pun.
To sum up 'Put your phasers on stun throw your health food skyward' is simply wonderful, and is quite correctly heralded on the album cover as 'The Freshest Sounds Around'. A rich and varied dish prepared by a master chef who's honed his skillz over many a year. Take a bite, and launch that designer falafel on wheat-free sour dough high into the stratosphere.
(Mr Kinsey plays Lost in the Supermarket on Dublin's Jazz FM 89.8, Saturdays @10pm.)