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Zoo Hypothesis

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Album Review

There are few things sadder than a band that tries to be really weird and freaky but in fact isn't. (Yes, we're looking straight at you, Mr. Bungle, you lame Zappa fetishists.) Luckily, this is not a problem Chicago's Tub Ring ever runs up against; it's not that their fifth album doesn't have passages of extreme oddity, it's that they don't seem to be trying too hard for them, and they're balanced with a surprising knack for oddly poppy settings that bring out the true oddity of the breakdown sections. In other words, a song like the utterly freaky opener "Tiny, Little" works because it sounds like a collaboration between Tom Waits and They Might Be Giants on a song from the soundtrack to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and "Wealth of Information" succeeds because of the dynamic tension between the passages of dub-influenced trippiness and the herky-jerky, almost rapped sections. The minute-long blast "The Viking Song" (parts of which bear an unfortunate resemblance to Oingo Boingo, poster children for that whole not-as-weird-as-they-think thing) is in brilliant contrast to the deceptively melodic, downright catchy "Raindrops," a song that would fit perfectly on an Olivia Tremor Control album. There are dull and/or annoying parts to Zoo Hypothesis, but the whole thing is so hyperactively edited that it's a thrill ride regardless.


Formed: 1992 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Experimenting with the wildest part of alternative rock via reckless rhythms and specific instrumentation, Tub Ring end up delivering spacy collections of eccentric and melodious themes. Starting off as a punk outfit in 1992 in Chicago, Ring rapidly evolved into an experimental ensemble, assembling risky tone conceptions with moving experimental rock selections. Kevin Gibson (vocals), Rob Kleiner (keyboards), Jason Fields (bass), Mouse (guitar), and Mike Gilmore (drums) make up Ring, all of them...
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Zoo Hypothesis, Tub Ring
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