Zombi: Spirit Animal

By: Alex Proctor

Revealing a Floydian ear for the cosmic and melancholy loneliness of deep space, prog-rock duo Zombi announce the arrival of their third full length album, Spirit Animal (released February 3 on Relapse), with metronomically descending minor-key basslines, crashing cymbals and soaring synths that would make Vangelis, er… jealous. Somewhere between the Dario Argento and George Romero slasher flick soundtracks horror rock demi-gods Goblin created in the '70s (widely considered one of the finest of the genre) and the propulsive Krautrock of Can, Kraftwerk and Gila, you'll find these two Pittsburgh natives - two purveyors of existential dread with one surprisingly life-affirming twist: You can dance to it.

Electro kids take note, particularly those with a taste for doom and a little darkness in their souls. On previous releases, Zombi have delved into such Sector 9-ish territory as recording an entire album about constellations, and their sound has a lot in common with the live-tronica dance masters - as well as with Maserati and Trans Am on the indie side. Yet while these groups might cross paths on the astral plane, one has the feeling that Zombi dwell forever in the shadows, even if pushing to the light. Steve Moore (bass, synths) and Anthony Paterra (drums), the two men behind Zombi, walk a line between atmospherically dark and rhythmically driven, almost pummeling jams and mind expansion. Their goal seems to be capturing in sound the sensation of being pursued by an unseen threat, and the feeling of dread their highly cinematic music creates is intense. Listening to Zombi's heart-pounding soundtrack it is difficult not to imagine yourself being chased, most likely by a robotic killer relentlessly crashing through a badly lit early '80s movie set full of artificial smoke. You run like hell, and finally, when you stop and turn to face your fears, you have the shattering realization that the killer hot on your trail is actually you.

What you do at that moment, Zombi seems to say, is up to you. Do you scream, and let the impossible truth push you into madness? Do you let go, finally free? Or do you dance?

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[Published on: 4/24/09]

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