Published Sep 01, 2020Freak Heat Waves are back with their most personal release to date. Zap the Planet is a concise 30 minutes of dancehall-influenced drums and and genreless, intuitive Akai MPC composition, recasting the band's chaotic post-punk fervour as something comparatively meditative.
Gone are the synth stacks and wiry post-punk guitar of records prior. Instead, Zap the Planet possesses a sympathetic quality that feels open to interpretation. This newly distilled, highly edited sound feels as much like a remix of something unheard as it does a completely original release. This groovy yet uncanny feeling begins straight away with opening track "Off Axis," sitting somewhere between a hardware warmup or an understated overture, and introduces the listener to the sample-heavy approach that permeates this release. From the '90s techno vibe at the opening of "Something Fresh" to the languid bedroom feelings of "Let It Go," and even across the pulsing, ominous beats layered within "Busted" and "Dripping Visions," Zap the Planet might offer more surprise to fans than to outsiders.
There is a relaxed playfulness to this release, compared to the maximal quality of Beyond XXXL or the heady mixtape quality that makes the track-to-track journey through Bonnie's State of Mind such a unique listening experience. Zap the Planet may leave some listeners wanting for drama. However, this release conveys its own unique emotion: a sort of groovy lethargy perfect for a summer in relative isolation, a release that, benefiting from all its production experimentation, feels vital and honest. (Telephone Explosion)