“A Day On Black Mountain Road” isn’t nearly as upbeat as some of The Zebras earlier work. At least, it doesn’t seem like it at first. It’s the chord progressions — they’re slightly darker. This is not necessarily a criticism rather than an objective side comment. It’s a small stray from the past that pops up elsewhere on New Ways Of Risking Our Lives, like on “Make It Stop”, giving their latest EP a unique edge to their catalog of material.
Then there’s the second track, “Push Our Way To The Front”, which returns to the beloved sound rampant on Worry A Lot and their self-titled debut. “The Ground Falls Away” is, yet again, more of the same. These are songs that would go right along with anything off those early releases, and that alone makes them noteworthy — indie pop tends to be quite dormant and static as time progresses, which is what many fans of the sub-genre find so endearing.
This slightly darker element may not be apparent to the non-avid fan. After all, these songs are still quite infectious; they all live up to every sensibility known to indie pop. Take closing track “Crickets”. It’s a bit softer and a bit slower than the rest of the EP — and ultimately the shortest tune — yet it blends the group’s early sound with their impossibly catchy vocal patterns and a few chord progressions that are a hint darker than what was known before.
It all ads up to a simple fact: The Zebras are one of the best indie pop bands in the world today. And that is a fact that remains unchanged.
Lost and Lonesome Recordings [CDEP, 2008]
1. A Day On Black Mountain Road
2. Push Our Way To The Front
3. Make It Stop
4. The Ground Falls Away