Nov 12, 2007

Becoming All Things-Zookeeper

No statement can have true finality. Life is a fluid and moving thing. But I feel reasonably confident in stating this. "Becoming All Things" by Zookeeper is the last truly great album of 2007. This symphony of joy is a nearly perfect concoction of great sounds. It clearly and cleanly defines how music can uplift your spirit and delve deep into your heart. The hardest thing perhaps in music is to try and write songs that have soul and joy, yet still have that melancholy sensibility that resonates long after the smile finally fades away. Yet somehow Chris Simpson has achieved this, and in spades.

I wasn't aware, until recently, of Chris Simpson's musical heritage. But apparently he has been on the scene for years. Originally from Denver he was in two bands, Mineral and The Gloria Record, that are said to have had a totally different style to Zookeeper. After a hiatus of two years, Simpson re emerged in Austin to collaborate with former band members and new musicians to form Zookeeper and produce a six track EP (which is excellent too) before recording their debut album "Becoming All Things". The title is apt as this album is an eclectic mix of styles and spirits. There are downright pure melodic pop moments, such as "Snow in Berlin" and "Ballad Of My Friends" which are rousing and stimulating. Then there exists "Boy & The Street Choir" which is all hushed and glorious. The album is certainly seamless, songs expertly dovetail into the next creating a kaleidoscope of majestic music. The songs all have an unstoppable momentum, there is no traditional verse-chorus structure, building and building before often bursting into life. With great results. Simpson's voice is earthy and sometimes world weary, straining at times to emit the emotion of his lyrics. Set against lush pop melodies, with acoustic guitar and tinkling piano the effect is delivered with great surety and intention. This is never more evident then on the epic title track, which is just sublime. The song has a quiet beauty as Simpson warbles with great emotion over a constant piano line as guitars and various instruments twitter and stutter in the background. By the finish, the song struts and floats before slowly dying. Thankfully the song after, the last one, "Born With Things To Do" is quite a return to joy as it is a rollicking tune, full of optimism and hope. Which is the strongest feeling I receive from this album. Hope and optimism abound in the lush pop symphonies. But there are also many other layers at work here. Enough to give you constant and unfettered listening pleasure.

You can purchase "Becoming All Things" from Belle City Pop.
MP3: Becoming All Things
MP3: Trumpets

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