The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world






I’ve seen ZZ Top live 5 times now in the nine years since they last hit the studio to give us something new. Finally the Texan trio is back with what is a taster of the full length release they have been bunkered down with Rick Rubin working on.



Now ZZ plus Rubin should surely be something special right? Well maybe not exactly. To be honest I think Rubin over the years has ruined as many great albums as he’s ‘saved’ and here he seems to have hit the red ‘OVERPRODUCE’ button again.



That being said, while on the one hand we have that overly mechanized and computer-generated production, we do have some fine songs. So while I can have a good moan here about this not being the ‘back to the roots’ and ‘stripped bare classic ZZ’ we were promised, the songs certainly stand up even if the production does have you wondering how Rubin’s ‘genius’ now sounds so dated.



Sure the songs echo the greatness of the past, but it’s a past that’s been digitized rather than a past with the grease and grime intact. I would have loved to have heard this ‘dirtier’ – would have loved to have heard the band playing through valve amps in a grimy garage, with no air-con, stopping only to grab a burger and a beer.



On the plus side single, “I Gotsa Get Paid” is of course a nod to their classic “Just Got Paid”: essentially spoken word against a stripped back guitar, bass and drums, it’s interesting and hints at what a future album could hold. The solo is of course exemplorary, but then we expected that. Still it just seems to be missing something you can’t quite put your finger on.


“Chartreuse,” is the magic you hoped they could rediscover! By far the strongest track here it echoes that great milestone “Tush” with just a little more. You will be grinning ear to ear when you hear it. (Whatever you do though don’t track down the spirit that gives the song it’s name – it’ll kill you!)


Final tracks “Consumption,” and closer, “Over You,” are OK, but then again we didn’t expect to see the best of the forthcoming LP here did we?
There’s enough here to suggest that the album that follows this will be a great one, if only they hadn’t let that pesky Rubin play with the dials!  



Mark Diggins