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Album Review

To the uninitiated, Zuri West probably come across as typical local rock heroes — a group that scores on its home turf by adapting a globally popular brand of music to a specific language, which is guaranteed to win a faithful audience in that language's country, but it also has the disadvantage of failing to impress listeners abroad. But while HomeRekords really features lyrics in a Bernese dialect of German (which is a pretty far cry from regular German), it is actually more than a local specialty — and the disc isn't perfect, but it's a good, if quirky, listen. The image of a bland guitar pop band is quickly shattered as Zuri West begin to explore stuff like cabaret pop with relaxed acoustic guitar interludes or the almost a cappella music on "Chinasky," which is basically a monologue over a weird bassline. There are still plenty of catchy pop/rock songs here, but the album retains an oddball feel due to the pointedly laid-back nature of songwriting, with arrangements that would have sounded just plain primitive on a true pop record, but which seem merely laconic on HomeRekords because this is obviously the band's intent, and doesn't reflect a lack of talent or effort. It brings Zuri West unexpectedly close to the indie rock bands who like to play with pop music by deconstructing it, but while most of those groups play with deconstruction to make a postmodernist statement, Zuri West sound more like they simply decided to skip the unnecessary polish by stripping pop/rock to its very core. And it turns out it works just fine, the way a sketch can be as expressive as a full-bodied painting. HomeRekords may be short on frills and layers, but it shows that the lazy touch of a pro can still be sufficient at creating accessible, catchy, and smart music.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Arguably Switzerland's leading rock band of the 1990s and 2000s, Züri West established themselves in the mid-'80s as an exciting live band and, beginning with their mainstream breakthrough in the late '80s, regularly topped the Swiss albums chart. The Bern-based band's alternative hard rock sound is dual-guitar driven, often daring, and sung in dialect -- far from typical for a regularly chart-topping Swiss act. The band broke into the mainstream with its full-length debut album, Sport und Musik...
Full Bio
HomeRekords, ZüriWest
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  • $10.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Alternative
  • Released: Apr 23, 2010

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