Zodiac – “Sonic Child” (Napalm Records)
Arguably the most raved about band in Germany right now, Zodiac have been on a meteoric rise since their debut at the Roadburn festival in 2013. Since then they have been on the road with Spiritual Beggars and The Sword, currently planning a US tour this year as support for stoner-legends Monster Magnet. A retro band playing a mixture of 70s classic and blues rock in the main, Zodiac make occasional forays into hard rock like on the start to ‘Holding On’ which sounds like early Maiden with its warbling dual guitar intro! Elsewhere they take the choogin’ boogie beat of Bad Company on ‘Swinging On The Run‘ or give it a funk touch a la Glenn Hughes on the closing ‘Just Music’ that sounds authentic thanks to the easy livin’ laid back groove the band employ. There’s certainly plenty of quiet moments where the smooth but slightly dulled guitar tones go into long, drawn out solos and jamming passages but the material affords the patience required to appreciate the musicianship which is true to its 1970s predecessors. Nick van Delft’s vocals take an equally easy going tone, almost like a lighter version of The Cult’s Ian Astbury especially on the title track to this 3rd albumalthough he comes into his own on the slow, country blues rock of ‘A Penny And A Dead Horse‘, complete with its morose slide guitar work that truly conveys the heart break until Janosch Rathmer’s drums pick up a galloping beat and rock it out to the end of this 7 minute classic. Although not in the heavy league I can see why everyone is talking about Zodiac, and anyone with an appreciation or yearning for 70s rock will be tripping over their heels to get this baby from Germany’s favorite sons.