From the snapping piano-and-bass rhythm to a lead vocal that bears more than a passing resemblance to Britt Daniel’s dry rasp, “How Does It Feel”, the opening track on Toronto scenesters Zeus’ debut EP, Sounds Like Zeus, is so thoroughly reminiscent of indie superstars Spoon it might be cause for litigation. Fortunately, while the other four tunes on the questionably titled EP find the band borrowing no less transparently from the well of pop both classic and current, the songs display the band’s increasing awareness of the distinction between inspiration and plagiarism. “Marching Through Your Head” is a giddy sugar rush of glam-pop, like Roxy Music at its brightest meeting Belle and Sebastian at its most swingingly retro. The languid “I Know” evokes the sun-bleached haze of ‘70s soft rock as effectively as Phoenix has managed to anywhere on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, while “Cornerstones” matches fellow Canadian retro-poppers Sloan in its collision between classic-rock poses and bedroom-pop earnestness. The real ace up the band’s sleeve, however, is a manic cover of Genesis’ “That’s All”, which, in all of its flailing cacophony, actually manages to skewer much closer to Genesis’ progressive roots than the original ever did, finally revealing Zeus as followers of a much more savvy sort.
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// Notes from the Road
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