[6 January 2010]
Led by Indianapolis-based songwriter/producer David Adamson, Jookabox (formerly known as Grampall Jookabox) has built a reputation for stitching together disparate elements from blues, hip-hop, folk, and punk in its Frankenstein-like quest to revive terrifyingly infectious psych-rock records from the remnants of seemingly incompatible genres. On its third full-length, Dead Zone Boys, the zombie-obsessed genre-hoppers once again showcase its unique eclecticism with an entertaining batch of freewheeling, nightmarish sing-alongs that always entertain and occasionally delight. From the first pounding tom hit of “Phantom Don’t Go” to the last pitch-shifted shriek of “Light”, the record provides songs as unpredictable as the one proceeding it, incorporating multi-layered doses of percussion, fat synths, and ritualistic chanting that sounds as if it was yelped by Animal Collective’s evil step-sister. Dead Zone Boys does lapse into a few interesting missteps with “Zombie Tear Drops” and “Gonna Need the Guns/Doom Hope” but more than compensates with punkish rockabilly anthem “You Cried Me”, the runaway standout on a mostly compelling album that doesn’t shy away from genre boundaries or paranormal activity.