If I could be remembered for something in this world, it would be creating an entire new subgenre of rock music. Cool music. That’s what I’d call it. It sounds lame, I know. But anyone who’s ever listened to The Zutons can relate and even nod their heads in agreement.
Hailing from Liverpool, England (gosh, I wish I was born there) is the band whose recent follow-up to its very successful debut 2004 album Who Killed…. The Zutons is anything but cool. I mean c’mon, the band has two songs on the album (“Valerie” and “Oh Stacey (Look What You've Done!)”) about two girls that lead singer David McCabe met while in America. Granted, I think that the lead singers of almost every band meet their girls in America. The fact that McCabe could be so nonchalant about the meeting of the girls and the writing of the songs is so very cool. He says, “That wasn’t so serious — but it sounds big and kinda funky. Most of the best tunes are ones you write quickly and they don’t take much hassle.” I think that last sentence is very deep and can apply to almost anything.
But, hassle isn’t something that The Zutons know anything of. Their songs ooze with the good kinds of both machismo and class. The song “Secrets” sounds like it could’ve come from any of the thousands of ballrooms from the fifties. It’s vintage class, and the scary thing is that you can imagine the band wearing white tuxes while playing the song with dozens of people sittings at tables with pineapple centerpieces.
Hawaiian music. That’s it. It doesn’t become more apparent than in “Oh Stacey” with its lighthearted and relaxed mood. “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” has that same vibe. It’s so dreamlike that it could even be mistaken for being psychedelic, if you minus all the drugs and their effects. “How Does It Feel?” gives you a similar sixties vibe, if you include just the effect of paranoia while staying in your closet for a week straight.
But every Zutons experience is as gloomy and depressing as drug-craved isolation. The title track “Tired Of Hangin’ Around” is an upbeat retro anthem against inaction. You don’t just need crackle and pop. You’ve got to be crackle and pop. McCabe describes the song as being “about waiting at a bus-stop and someone’s ignoring you — and getting annoyed about not being taken seriously. And how that fires you up.” And you know what fires me up? That a band has picked up the coolness torch where The Darkness left it.