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Zippers, The: The Zippers

Hailing from Western Pennsylvania, The Zippers released their one and only major label album back in 1990. Arriving with the help of MCA, as so many outfits found around that time, if one label knew little of how to take a hard rock act to success, then that label was one The Zippers chose to tie themselves to. Therefore, after this self titled effort failed to take the band to fame and fortune, MCA promptly dropped the quartet of vocalist and guitarist Terry Callahan, second guitarist Vinnie Q, bassist Gary Park Barnhart and drummer Johnny Day Dodato. And really that was it for The Zippers, which on the strength of this newly reissued album seems something of a waste.

Now until this reissue arrived in my review pile, this outfit had completely passed me by… and sliding the disc into the player before reading the accompanying press blurb, I initially presumed that The Zippers were an antipodean concern. "Top Shelf" houses the anger, if not the aggression of Rose Tattoo, but it also possesses the popping snare drum of INXS and finds Callahan barking like a less controlled Jimmy Barnes. So surely, if this act were from anywhere, it would be Australia… Obviously that thought was quickly proved wrong. In fairness, there's a slight Drivin' n' Cryin' vibe alluded to on "Toxic Love", as is a slice of power-pop-punk. With melodically snarled vocals and dirty but polite riffage it really is a wonder that a sound that pulls in pop, punk, rock and even Americana in the way this opening pair do, never got more notice than it did.

Oddly, "Like The Rain" then harks back to a Byrds like sound that quickly disconnects it from what has come before, but then "Trappin' Me In" heads back to the early sound of the album as though the previous three minutes had never happened. From there the tone is set, rattling rockers occasionally making way for a 60s sound that while good, simply feels lost in these surrounds. "Rock Now" hits hard, "Shock Wave" adds yet more vintage flavours to the pot, while "Get Inside Yourself" runs along swiftly on a clatter of cymbal and a few neat guitar lines. Looking back with nearly two clear decades between the album's initial release and this reissue, if anything The Zippers feels dated even by 90s standards. The metal world was still ruled by big hair and bigger attitudes, while Seattle was slowly preparing to sweep all of that away. The Zippers on the other hand were relying on a more 60s and early 80s rock hybrid to make their mark and as such it feels like the ship they were waiting to come in, had already departed long ago

I can't tell you that The Zippers' self titled effort is an all time classic, but it's certainly far too good to have been ignored for 28 years. If you like honest, no frills hard rock without the metal pretensions – but which also doesn't take itself too seriously – then this band and album may well be something of a find.

Track Listing
1. Top Shelf
2. Toxic Love
3. Like The Rain
4. Trappin' Me In
5. Come Back Lover
6. Rock Now
7. Shock Wave
8. Love So Large
9. Best Friend
10. Get Inside Yourself

Added: March 10th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Zippers @ Angel Air
Hits: 160
Language: english

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