Mark H. » Music » The Zatopeks - "Smile Or Move"
You Said It Was A Good Size! 7" Review
Smile Or Move
It's Alive Records
The Zatopeks offer us a slightly new version of pop punk. Sure it's only "slightly new" but just about any variation in this bubbling sub-genre is worth checking into. The band is heavily influenced by American oldies radio, which accounts for the familiar but always welcome chord progressions, ensuring sing-alongs on the first listen. Furthermore, tunes are well supplied with high school romance stories and doo wop-esque backing vocals, making one think the black leather jackets are more Dion & The Belmonts than Ramones. The twist truly comes in when you recognize the band hails from the UK. While there isn't a huge resemblance to say, the Buzzcocks or the Adverts, there's definitely something gritty and punk in their performance; these tracks aren't from the north east suburbs or sunny California.
"I Dream I'm Home" starts off with a swaying layer of high vocals, the Phil Spector trademarked "heatbeat drumbeat", and vocalist Will Deniro spewing out images of isolation and dessitude before the band revs up and jumps and in and all sorts of pogoing ensues. "Turn To Gold Blues" offers more heartache, harmonies, and handclaps - if you're not a fan by now, there's something wrong with you.
On the flip, "Even Zatopeks Cry" is another loveable sad-sack ballad, escalating at each chorus and climaxing with a rare guitar solo. Closer "Another Night on the Divide" starts of with some pleasing acoustic picking but explodes into snottiness and speed almost boardering Screeching Weasel territory. Every element in a good pop punk release is here on this platter (melody, harmony, energy) and then some. Worth checking out for curious pop kids, essential for fans of the genre.