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Zero-EQ – Fall (e.p.) | Review by The RingMaster

If you are looking for some easily accessible synth pop which is just as potently offering new intriguing promise then you can do a great deal worse than heading over to the Fall EP frim Italian trio Zero-Eq. Consisting of five virulently infectious and persistently enterprising songs with a quartet of highly pleasing remixes, the release is a sparkling electronic endeavour of emotive shadows and captivating melodies which you can easily envisage inviting an intensive spotlight upon the band.

It is fair to say that there is nothing particularly ground-breaking in sound upon the seemingly eighties inspired encounter, if Depeche Mode was not an inspiration to the band we would be staggered, but it is just as valid to say that few synth pop bred releases in recent times have thrilled and sparked the imagination as rigorously as Fall does. It is a colourful and imperiously seductive proposition which makes feet and attention a submissive volunteer with great ease but it also leaves a lingering bait of invention and craft which has thoughts and appetite engaged well beyond its departure. It is a release which cannot be placed on the top table of the genre it is spawned from but for enjoyment and rich potential band and EP sit on the frontline of pleasure.

Hailing from Roma, Zero-Eq was originally a duo before the line-up of Phenix (guitar, synthesizers, vocals), IO (lead vocals, synth), and Tyler (bass, synth bass) came together. A collection of early songs in the Greatest Hits 2003/2004 EP in 2005 was the band’s first venture though it seemingly has been kept under wraps whilst 2012 saw the release of their second EP Bugged Karma, a proposition which drew the band strong attention and acclaim home and beyond its borders. The year also saw the band emerge live to again pleasing reactions and appetites for their magnetic sounds. Fall is their next step and one which should bring another elevated twist in their ascent with its captivating qualities. Erase starts things off, its opening sample and haunted noise a swift temptation for the imagination before emerging pulsating sounds further coaxes ears and senses. Synths pounce with a confident air and robust energy within the still subdued yet forceful gait, a keen canter which embraces the excellent dark vocal tones of IO. His voice even with an effect glazed production has a certain Dave Gahan tone whilst musically the song crowds shadows and subsequent melodic flames into a thick tapestry of seducing adventure and enthralling suasion. It is a song which does not explode into anything more than a keen invitation but does not need to as its infectious charm and imaginative hooks refuse to be ignored.

The following Never let you in is similar in many ways, its stance another emotive premise with darkened hues which permeates rather than seizes thoughts and emotions. Again a Depeche Mode essence is a vibrant spice to the song’s transfixing body, adding richer flavour to the evocative narrative simmering perfectly within a chilled but conducive ambience. Like its predecessor the track has a firm hold on a by now hungry appetite which the title track moves in next to reveal its presence to. The opening discord blessed twang of sound is soon pushed aside by a gloriously vivacious and urgent stomp of electro enticement, its pop bred smile and energy sparking thoughts of Blancmange and in some ways Modern English with its insatiable hooks and electro grooves. The track is a mesmeric instigator of feet and passions, a song you know dance floors will be greedy over.

Negative Changes provides an arguably larger emotive presence than previous songs, its melodies and expressive keys weaving a rich and expansive landscape within which vocals and melodies play with a festivity of spirit. The mix of vocals from IO and Phenix is a captivating move whilst the bass seduction of the track simply engrosses to the point of lustful recognition. Like so many of the songs on the EP it is certainly not out of its time but you just know that if it and others were released in the birthing days of synth pop they would be stealing the limelight from lesser talents.

Inside My Head emerges as another quite irresistible incitement, its rawer burn of rock guitar and throaty bass a masterful tempering and complement to the flaming chorus which it has to be said has a definite touch of early Duran Duran to it. Flexing muscles and oozing charm from start to finish the track is a scintillating and stimulating triumph showing yet another edge to the sound and creativity of the band.

As mentioned the release is completed by four remixes by Retrogramme, Public Domain Resource, Lost Reality, and Klonavenus, for the title track, Erase, Halloween Inside, and Enemy respectively. All make for an intriguing and pleasing extra to the main course but play second fiddle to the main protagonists.

The Fall EP as said is not bursting with anything strikingly new but you have to ask if that really matters when it sounds and feels this good.

The Fall EP is available digitally and on CD through Space Race Records from May 23rd.

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