The Zinedines: Take Me Take Me

Gary Glauber

The Zinedines

Take Me Take Me

Label: Rainbow Quartz
US Release Date: 2004-09-21
UK Release Date: Available as import

I truly wonder whether flight attendants ask people to set their watches back thirty-five years before disembarking their planes in Spain. The proliferation of retro bands to be found there is staggering. The Zinedines now take their rightful place in the Rainbow Quartz roster alongside fellow countrymen Sidonie, Gallygows, The Gurus and The Winnerys, specializing in a neo-psychedelic sound reminiscent of the late 1960s.

Take Me Take Me is a fun collage of retro sounds featuring sitar accompaniment and luxuriant harmonies added to the standard Britpop assemblage of guitars, drums and keyboards. The songs are sung in English.

The Zinedines are a quartet fronted by the brothers Martinez. Manel Martinez, the songwriter, does lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards, while brother Miquel provides lead guitar, sitar, tamboura and vocals. Juanjo Tomas sings and plays bass guitar, and Marti Vellespir rounds out the group, singing while handling drums and percussion. Formed in 1998 in Wall (Majorca), the brothers Martinez formerly had been in The Frankenbooties (and Miquel also had been guitarist in a band called Sexy Sadie).

Their sounds recall the Beatles at times, the Byrds at others, with a bit of the Who thrown in for good measure (although the harmonies have a touch of Teenage Fanclub to them). The guitars are powerful at times, and the overall sound is energetic and playful.

Named after the world-renowned soccer star Zinedine Zidane (currently of Real Madrid), the band profess to handle their musical sounds much the way their field general namesake handles the ball.

These dozen tracks are pleasant and convincing, though there are some odd things you need to know beforehand. There are two versions of the song "Diggin' Everything" (and the second offers more sitar). The track listings on the inside and the outside of the CD packaging are completely different (the actual music seems to follow the outside track listing, though it left me wanting to hear the curiously named missing track "Let Me Sleep Beside Your Mother").

The strong "Twice Upon A Time" leads the proceedings, standard Rickenbacker-laced fare that recalls McGuinn and his compatriots of way back when. This infectious track features delicious harmonies and plenty of jangly guitar.

The title track is a bouncy bit of psychedelia that suggests an unusual outing: "Take me on a trip across the sun / take me even if I'm going to burn / Do you think we should go at night? / 'Cause the sun turns out its light". It's good, simple, harmonic fun that treads into Cream-type musical fare at times, and has a little musical coda tacked on to it.

One of my favorites is "I'm Not Me", featuring a harmonic infusion of "yeah yeah yeah"s driven by impressive bass guitar lines. This is one of those songs that make you want to "tune in, turn on and drop out".

Sitar and more impressive bass surrounds the melody in "Diggin' Everything" (though it truly dominates in the "George Harrison-style" second version of this song that ends the CD). "I Know Your Bird" is pleasant enough, offering some rhythmic changes amid yet more psychedelic fare that bears a vague resemblance to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida".

"Together" is a warm harmonic offering that sounds like a cross between something light from either America or Bread and something a bit late Beatle-ish. More Beatle sounds are heard on the affable "We All Look Quite Good".

"Garage Flying Saucers Stoning" wins for best title. This song about playing high, gazing at the sky and seeing monkeys all around could be a fine advertisement for what happens after irresponsible drug use.

"Over You" and "Still Running" are slower tempo numbers, while "It's All Around You" kicks it up a notch on the rock scale. The Zinedines really execute these sounds well, providing a convincing new version of what musically once was and in some parts of the world, still is.

In Spain it's still the summer of love, folks, and The Zinedines are a big part of it. If neo-psychedelic songs with plenty of guitars (and an abundance of sitars too), harmonies and rich melodies are your thing, Take Me Take Me will take you back in time, let you touch the sky, and return you in time for any important business you might have in the present.

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