If ever you’re invited to a dinner party chez Zealous and, like a polite guest, want to help out after the meal, you’ll find there’s nowhere to do the washing up. This is because they’ve taken out the kitchen sink, and chucked it at this new record.
Make no mistake, there’s a lot going on in ‘Wired’. It’s an indie-electro behemoth that looks to gain popularity and sales by crushing any opposition it encounters. Drums are thumped, chords are struck and squelchy synths are attacked as if they’ve personally wronged the band.
It’s an exciting and heady concoction, sure, but it’s also a heck of a racket at times, and it can be difficult and exhausting to keep up. Another result of this maximalist approach is that the vocals have to strain to make their presence felt, meaning they come close to angst-ridden emo territory.
There are some decent tunes on ‘Wired’, notably the soaring ‘Thanks A Million’, and Ed Zealous’ mining of some of the less fondly remembered elements of 1980s pop is to be applauded, but a firmer hand at the production desk would have greatly improved this record.
Promising, but it’ll leave you reaching for the aspirin.
Words: Joe Rivers
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Ed Zealous drummer and designer Paul Irwin on the album's cover...
So your album cover is pretty banging. It seems to have a levitating zombie chilling out in a meadow.
I wanted to kick it off with something a bit strange, and let the viewer take on their own wee journey of what it could be. But I haven’t heard zombie yet!
Really? It screams ‘off-duty zombie’, and one that is displaying an avant-garde way of rising from the grave sideways.
Well yes, she’s definitely sideways, and maybe she was shot, who knows? For me she is doing a dance, and then she fell over, it’s all quite odd.
What are the laser beams meant to represent?
Well nothing, really. I don’t want to be too literal. The album has a very electro, synthy, fuzzy vibe going through it. It’s all quite futuristic; I think it was influenced from when I was designing it. I didn’t want to be too literal, the album is pretty dark as well, but it’s also dancey. So I guess the picture follows on from that vibe. And the album is called ‘Wired’. When we making it, there was plenty of fighting and subsequent hugging between us, it was all a bit crazy. You know, we’re all a bit weird. We’re all zombies I guess.
Intense. But can you shake hands without your arms falling off?
(Laughs) Yes we can. You know, I design loads of singles and album covers for so many musicians, but this was the hardest cover I’ve ever had to do.
Than any other cover you’ve done?
Yes, and it took me a long time. The singles are much easier to do - we’ve got singles out, and there’s more of a story with the singles, easier to get a visual. But this was 10 songs, all very different, and I was like, “What the f*ck am I going to do?” We’re all perfectionists. It’s tough work, and this was the first time it was an automatic “Yes” from the other boys.
You seem pleased that you’ve tethered the meaning and sound of the album with the visuals.
I guess it’s a melting pot of the darkness and intensity of writing the album, and there is a pop sound to it as well, and all that has made me think of the off-duty zombie! In a nutshell it reflects that darkness of the record, and that feeling of not knowing what comes next.
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