ZAZA, Cameo

Caitlin Dewey

By Caitlin Dewey

on 04.22.11 in Reviews



Cameo is the debut EP of Brooklyn shoegazers Zaza, but it could just as easily serve as the soundtrack to some abstract black-and-white art film or avant-garde horror flick. Feverish and hallucinatory, with a seductive darkness reminiscent of late Slowdive, Cameo inhabits the spectral ground halfway between shadows and television static. The effect might be frightening, if it weren't so hypnotic — the infinite haze of delayed guitar and disembodied voices sound more like the work of wraiths than actual human beings.

A gorgeous and mesmerizing EP of dream-pop noir

But for all Zaza's ethereality, Cameo's most haunting aspect may lie in the throbbing honesty of its sentiments. Singer/guitarist Danny Taylor imbues simple phrases with a sense of impending inevitability, so that when he murmurs "no one needs to know" ("The Call") or "I won't leave until you tell me to" ("Arm's Length") a hundred times over, the words begin to assume the significance of a spiritual manifesto. Add a pulsing bass line, as on "Faith in the Faithless," or a bruising drum thrust, as in "Sooner or Later," and you have a brilliant example of dream-pop noir — just as mesmerizing and chillingly indistinct as the inner demons that inspired it.