16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: La Futura (Audio CD)
What's tough for me about reviewing a new ZZ Top record is comparing it to the classic sound of their 70's records. I'm talking Rio Grande Mud, Tres Hombres, etc... Don't get me wrong. I totally respect ZZ Top, and other classic rock era artists for heading in new musical directions. As musicians, it would be stifling, I think, to continue producing the same sound over and over. Most good musicians (ZZ Top being in that category) are constantly influenced by an eclectic array of music. Guitarist Billy Gibbons (one of the best ever) hasn't shied away from his love of not only blues, and rock, but of Disco, reggae, etc... In addition, the band seems to be constantly striving to (at the very least, give a nod to the old), but push the boundries of experimenation, as well. All of this garners my utmost respect, but there are some mixed feelings on behalf of long time fans.
One thing that doesn't help, is the press (not sure who's responsible) that's been out there prior to several ZZ Top releases over the years. I can't count the times i've heard the following: "If you like "Tres Hombres", you are really going to like their upcoming release". The truth is: ZZ Top hasn't released anything that sounds like their 70's stuff since, "well", the 70's. I'm sure the advance press is designed to pump up record buyers, but if it's not true, why do this to the fans ?? Just be honest, and call it like it is. They have certainly marketed "La Futura" in this way, and while their is a hint here and there of the past, it's buried in what I call " That Fuzzy Guitar Sound". If Billy Gibbons likes that sound (obviously he does) I say go for it. Who am I to tell Billy Gibbons ( a protege of Jimi Hendrix) what to do; but personally, I want to hear the man tear it up, which he's even more capable of doing now.
So, here's the skinny: I like the new record. It's the best they've done in a while. Alot of the stuff they've released since "Recycler" has been a disapointment, although I did like "Rhythmeen". This new one gets them back on course a bit. There are more blatant nods to the past, but they still can't seem to get away from that (here we go again) "Fuzzy Guitar Sound", but the tunes are solid. You can purchase a special edition album version which includes some additional tunes that won't be on the regular release. I listened to those on a Rock and Roll Website last week. What's strange about the extra tracks is that they actually (in my opinion) are better than most of the tracks on the regular release, they rock, and are much more in line with sounding closer to what a fan of 70's ZZ Top might like. Go figure?? Maybe the band should decide to make the new tunes part of the regular release, as well. At least this way, fans who read the press about comparisons to "Tres Hombres" won't be completely dissapointed.
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Initial post: Sep 28, 2012 5:33:25 PM PDT
Outstanding review, couldn't have said it better myself. I don't care for the extra tracks, but I get what you're saying. I think the biggest failure here is Rick Rubin. He used to be famous for dry, real recordings. Been moving away from that for years now. Most of his Cash recordings were a great example of how to revive a legend. Dry, raw, real (for the most part, the God's gonna cut you down song was a little overproduced), but he really dropped the ball as far as reigning in these guys. I'm sure they pressured him into it. Oh well. There's still hope. I've heard some solo Billy that sounds great, maybe it could eventually migrate over to ZZ.
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