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CD Reviews:  Zebra: Zebra IV

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Thundering drums and bass, high-pitched Zeppelin-esque vocals, shredding guitar solos and ballsy riffs. Yes, this is the formula that made Zebra one of the hottest bands of the early 1980s in their dual hometowns of Long Island, New York and New Orleans, Louisiana. It's been almost 20 years since Zebra's last release on Atlantic Records, but the original lineup of Randy Jackson (no, not the fat dude from American Idol), Felix Hanemann and Guy Gelso is back with a fourth release as if they never went away. Zebra is one of those bands that took off so fast locally but was never able to reach a national audience the same way, be it because of poor management or bad timing. But here they are, with an indie release on Mayhem Records and the same kickass sound.

"Arabian Nights" makes you feel like you're both riding through the desert and at an arena rock concert at the same time. "Light of My Love" is also vintage Zebra, or for those of you who have never heard of this band, vintage Led Zeppelin. Trust me, there is no one I have ever seen or heard that sounds more like Robert Plant than Jackson. Some might call that ripping off, but I say he's just one of the few that can pull it off. That, and Zebra still has a more poppy side, as evidence by tracks such as "Who Am I" and "So I Dance." "Angels Calling" is a rock anthem for a new generation and "My Life Has Changed" is also a blazing track. "Why" is another introspective, melodic 12-string piece ala their big MTV hit from the '80s, "Who's Behind the Door?" 

There's somewhat of a personal bias here, as my buddy and I once drove from Boston to New York to see a Zebra show in a yellow VW Rabbit held together by a ratty t-shirt and duct tape. The songs may not be quite as magical as early Zebra but they're pretty damn close. That and just hearing this band again, exactly as they sounded 20 years ago, makes it feel like we've all lived in a bubble the whole time. Either that or the more likely realization that Zebra is back, and they still rock. 

~Mike Farley : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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