Ephemera of Altruisms
Outer Banks natives Zack Mexico’s new album Ephemera of Altruisms embodies the true rock ‘n’ roll spirit, intertwining dreamy horror sounds with a sci-fi beach party theme. The album experiments with the swirling and disorienting sounds of shoegaze, reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine’s earlier sounds, with psychedelic riffs. While this marriage may seem odd, Zack Mexico brings out the best of both genres with a sinister ambient noise coupled with low-tone vocals and surf rock-inspired melodies.
The nine-track album starts off with “Kauf,” a mellow rock ‘n’ roll song with simple beach wave-inspired guitar riffs and signature drawn out vocals. The vocals suddenly get weird in “FUNFUN” where the band plays with different vocal ranges from high to low while screaming incredibly repetitive simplistic lyrics, rhyming fun and sun over and over again. This simplistic rhyming is mirrored throughout the rest of the album.
“HWY#” is perhaps the perfect example of what could be a great instrumental song. The song does a perfect job of making it work between two contrasts of the mellow ambient sound and upbeat drums, but the same simplistic vocals and odd breakdowns are a distraction. “I Can’t Stand You” works the opposite way — the vocals work, but the upbeat guitar and drums don’t.
The seven-minute song “I Can Change” starts off as slow, romantic and melancholy, then out of the blue breaks into a catchy classic rock ballad. The last couple of minutes of the song get back into that beginning slow pace and incorporate the same drawn out vocals heard throughout the album. The song ends with some ominous chanting that complements that creepy ambient sound so well. The middle of the song is so conflicting with the rest that it should have been on its own.
If this album were a sci-fi movie, “Come Back Baby” would be the part where aliens slowly descend onto the earth and a slow-motion battle scene emerges. The song works beautifully in incorporating the band’s distorted ambient sounds with hard-hitting riffs and distinct dark vocals.
While some of the songs would have sounded better as instrumentals, the album still manages to successfully blend an array of genres and make it sound cohesive, making Ephemera of Altruisms a solid sophomore effort.
— Marcela Guimaraes
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