“I will touch the sky, spread my wings” is a lyric from this album’s title track which sums up where this band come from, musically speaking. Slightly clichéd but uplifting, Etta Zero’s songs are pop-orientated in structure, but with strong electro and heavy metal influences. “Modern Rock” is how they describe it. The song “The Last of All Sunsets” could be one of a number of hit singles on this album. It has good melody, sharp vocals, a well-integrated synth line and all in all is one of many well-controlled songs on this album. It bursts into heaviness towards the end and has a good emotional edge. It set me up for a very pleasant listen.
There were some aspects of this album that I didn’t like. A couple of times there was gratuitous swearing as if they wanted to prove they are cool / know some English / are harder than they really are / want to ingratiate themselves with a younger crowd (delete as appropriate). Pointless. Etta Zero could also be a bit EuroVision in places. To get that one out of their system, I suggest they enter a song for their country Liechtenstein next time round. Their sound is in general very European, and they brought to my mind a combination of Crematory, Amoral and Raunchy. To be fair to Etta Zero, their music is tight and controlled as you’d expect of a band which has been going for 14 years. What’s more, when they stand up on their own feet and let themselves go, as happens progressively over the course of the album, they put that pop-metal-synth combo to good effect and show good imagination in their songs.
Throughout the album there are strong songs with good instrumental touches. Some are fast and hard, some are bouncy and many are catchy. It’s unashamedly commercial. “All that I See” combines heavy rock with an interesting programmed chorus at the end. My favourite song is “Crush on You”. It’s punchy, catchy and smiley but the musical sophistication doesn’t get left behind as there’s a strong riff and the synth plays its part too. “Set Me Free” is deeper and chunky but this will never be threatening as there’s always a vibrant energy in Etta Zero’s songs. I preferred the style of track that “Etta Zero” is: a potent combination of heavy metal and electro which combine to make it fizz. I also liked the playfulness of “Heartbeats”. After the moody “The Downfall Factory”, the album ends with the ten minute “Heaven is Closer”. It’s as if Etta Zero have finally thrown off the shackles. The essential melody and catchiness are still there but imagination is rife as this twelve track work is brought to a quirky close.
It would be hard not to like this album. Etta Zero have a great sense of melody and song structure, and put these attributes to good use. They demonstrate a broad range of musical qualities here but I felt at times they constrain themselves to their own disadvantage. Yet when Etta Zero are in full creative flow, there are many outstanding passages on “The Last of All Sunsets”.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)