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Friday, December 5, 2014

Death By Chocolate - Zap The World

Name: Death By Chocolate
Album: Zap the World
Year: 2002
Style: Retro Pop
Similar Bands: Pizzicato 5, Belle & Sebastian, Pipettes, Monkees, retro commercials
"One-Word" Review: Beatnik Psych Lounge, ya dig?
Based Out Of: London, England
Label: Jet Set
 Zap The World - Cover & Backs
Zap The World - Liner Notes & CD 
 Zap The World - Liner Notes
                                                              Zap The World - Liner Notes
Zap The World (2002)
  1. Vox Wah Wah Pedal 1:06
  2. Zap The World Chorus 0:17
  3. Day Out 2:14
  4. Bentley Corniche 0:15
  5. Cut Out Girlscout 4:45
  6. While I'm Still Young 2:19
  7. Lime Green Fitted Blouse (w/ rounded collar & puce cuffs) 0:11
  8. El Graphic 2:25
  9. Bibi Gin 2:05
  10. Bridget Riley 0:18
  11. Artplay 5:17
  12. AB&C Part 2 5:03
  13. Cinammon Grahams 0:12
  14. Zap the World 4:05
  15. Swinging London 3:36
  16. John Steed Swordstick 2:33
Album Rating (1-10): 7.0

Members & Other Bands:
Angie Tillett - Vox, 
Milky - Vox
Jerry Butler - Producer
John Austin - Producer
Matty Green - Producer
El Graphic - Design
John Zimmerman - Photography
Charles  Fox - Writer
Norman Gimbel - Writer
George Melly - Writer
John Addison - Writer
Mike Always - Executive Producer

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band, but just from the cover, I imagine it will be some sort of folksy, twee pop music album. I like the artwork’s bold rainbow of colors behind the never-impressed girl on the front reading a British book. This looks like a more bubble gum version of Belle & Sebastian covers, so I was excited to get this and see what it sounded like in a New Orleans thrift store.

Album Review: Apparently, this was a musical group formed by (some say the orchestrator of Twee music), Mike Always, who was a record label producer and produced a lot of music in the 80’s on Red Cherry and El Records. The album spotlights one former hotel chambermaid, and a network of producers and musicians to form this calculated product of sunny 60-70’s pop style covers and promotional bits. Only a few tracks of the tracks are full, fleshed out songs.

“Vox Wah Wah Pedal” is a cover of a commercial for Vox brand guitar pedals that the Electric Prunesdid in 1967.It features delicate British female vocals over the guitar playing for the minute long advertisement.
“Zap The World Chorus” is just a short :17 second taste of the harmonized vocal only section for the upcoming song.
“Day Out” is another delicate female song that takes the listener back to psych/lounge days of early 60’s beatnik music. The organ and vocals remind me of Pizzicato 5. This stylized piece is true to the minimal recording, jazzy drumming, and repetitive loungey guitars.
“Bentley Corniche” is a scripted ad for the car explained by the title. No music, but it is tongue in cheek, as it mentioning that it plays music recorded before 1971.
“Cutoutgirlscout” is a cover from Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s comedy Bedazzled. It is retro 60’s guitar and keyboard music behind a few spoken word sections. Mostly instrumental, the song’s pace is pushed on by the side to side swaying rhythm guitar hooks and twinkling keyboard repetition. The cycle of music punctuated by the same vocal lines repeats through with little alterations of tempo changes.
“While I'm Still Young” is a cover from the soundtrack to the 60’s film “Smashing Time.” It begins with male Ba-Ba-Ba’s and punctuating guitar strums. The melody is more poppy than loungey. But the bass line keeps the song’s feet on the ground.
“Lime Green Fitted Blouse (w/ rounded collar & puce cuffs)” is a simple diary entry about the singer’s favorite shirt
“El Graphic” is an island loungey 60’s song with flute fludders that border on Cecilio & Kapono and Jimmy Buffett, and lots of harmonized male Ba-Ba-Ba’s. The wavering, echoing keyboard reminds me of BS 2000, but in a shiny and authentic 60’s way.

“Bibi Gin” is a psychedelic 60’s keys, guitar and snare drum musical section behind a shopping list of items spoken. After the first set of items is listed, an echoing lead guitar solos to end the track
“Bridget Riley” is the singers favorite artist, and she gives a little history lesson on her work.
“Artplay” is an airy and jazzy instrumental with vibes, echoing keys, and jazz drums and guitar. Very hip, dig? Just as it is about to end, the singer asks a questions, and it continues to wind down for an extra 20 seconds or so.
“AB&C Part 2” is a great, psych keyboard heavy reprise from AB&C from their first album. It is a different listing of things that start with the letters A – Z. There is a brief musical interlude between J and & and then R and S. It goes through A – J again at the end on repeat.
“Cinammon Grahams” is a journal entry, vocals only, on the singer’s favorite breakfast cereal.
“Zap the World” is a cover of the villain Witchie Poo’s theme song from the show H.R. Puffnstuff. It starts off with the Zap the World chorus, as heard on track 2, as harmonized male and female harmonies. This time it goes into the full song with hazy psych guitars and keys that sound like they were recorded in a warehouse via one microphone set away from the band. It is fun and bouncy, and works as an instrumental, but would benefit from vocals too. After 2:20, the spoken word lyrics are overlaid as ingredients for the villain to make a potion. This is followed up by the chorus. This cycle repeats with different recipes 3 times.
“Swinging London” is a motivating, driving 60’s child-like show tune. It begs for a dance routine, most likely with striped wardrobes and a parasol, as it begs for its listener to join the singer with a romp around London. The song ends, but a toned down instrumental version carries on for another verse-chorus combo to finish out the song.
“John Steed Swordstick” starts off with more male Ba Ba-Ba-Ba Ba’s. And some wah-wah guitar work with a real Monkee’s feel.  

Stand Out Track: While I'm Still Young


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