Zaza, Cameo (Kanine)

From the mountaintops
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Rolling, cloudy and swarming with generous echo effects, Brooklyn's Zaza ventures great distances to disassociate itself (at least sonically) from the noise-pop end of neo-shoegazers—and it works.

On its debut EP, Cameo, the duo passes up high-treble guitar fuzz for well-managed clean tones and elegant use of tremolo (go ahead and marvel at "Always On") while looped samples seem to fall ideally into place throughout the six-songer's brief duration. (Cameo is almost 26 minutes on the nose.) There's a loose, Urban Hymns–like flow to these low-slung numbers, but the finished product owes much to careful planning in the record's production stages.

Any sort of primitive, floor-tom-driven rhythms at work during Zaza's hypnotic EP are nearly stifled by Danny Taylor's ghostly vocal (as if delivered from towering heights) and an omnipresent surge of drones. It's a fascinating framework that succeeds to great effect on each Cameo track, but one wonders if Zaza will run out of gas on a full-length.

For now, the appropriately branded "Faith in the Faithless" hits the mark—sullen piano and an opaque fog of backward-cycling exhaust close this effort on a promising note. The other kids learning the Slowdive catalog chord-by-chord are churning out fun records, but this one has a base that's as rich and dark as an overgrown forest. [3.5 out of 5 stars]