French synth wave / electro trio Zombie Zombie (Etienne Jaumet – synths and saxophone, Cosmic Neman – drums, vocals, and effects, and Dr. Schonberg – percussion, electronics, and trumpet) didn’t want us to walk out of 2017 without dancing, so they’ve brought a new album full of vintage analog synth dance grooves and mood-changing tracks on their new album Livity.
The title track alone is worth the purchase price. The title refers to a Rastafarian term for “life force.” It’s almost nine minutes of head-bopping beats, haunting synth bass, and synths that are straight out of your 1980’s dreams. Put this in your earbuds and your perception of the world around you will shift. “Ils Existent” moves along with hypnotizing sci-fi synth loops until Neman’s wicked drum licks almost turn the song into an action movie theme. The percussion on “Hippocampe” is so damn good it might make you lose your mind. Jaumet’s synths build and build to wind you up and the whole song morphs into a cosmic journey around the 2:40 mark.
Zombie Zombie were the highlight of Levitation Austin 2015 for my wife and I, and the funky, acid jazzy “Looose” is an example of why that was the case. “When you have nothing to lose, it gets groovier,” Neman sings as his drums seem to fall off their kit in the chaos of the song. “Acera” gets us back to the sci-fi themes of the album with spaceship dance club beats and alien menace buzzes and bleeps.
“Heavy Meditation” would’ve fit in perfectly on the Blade Runner 2049 score. It’s perfect for scoring some soba noodle soup in a rainy downtown future L.A. while flirting with a replicant prostitute. The closer “Lune Noire” is a dark, simulated rainy night on a lonely space station near a fading super nova encapsulated into a 4:52 song.
Livity is one of the best electro albums of the year. It’s especially impressive when you consider the seven tracks were recorded live in just seven days. Zombie Zombie continues to explore new ground in the synth world an experiment with sounds you don’t seem to have heard before now. Get into this groove and live.
Keep your mind open.