Album review: Say Us

Zeus’ debut LP Say Us starts off very deceptively. After a few min­utes I was very quick to pass it all off as another classic rock-influenced band that sounds only slightly differ­ent than actual classic rock. But as I listened a bit more closely, I realized that that there really is something substantial here. There’s a deeper meaning than mere piano-dad-rock. Say Us does bear a resemblance to more run-of-the-mill rock, but Zeus transcends it all through an impres­sive exploration of southern sounds filtered through some simply great songwriting.

How Does It Feel?” and “Fe­ver of the Time” launch the album in a rather boring fashion, but you quickly realize that they’re necessary to set up the energy that progresses to a breaking point throughout the tracks. There’s a feeling of real joy here, which is starkly absent from most of today’s artists. Too much of music is just terribly, terribly sad, and while most of my favorite bands are supremely depressing, sometimes listening to them can be incredibly exhausting. Music doesn’t always have to mentally and emotionally challenge the listener. Sometimes, you just want music to make you feel good.

The only pervasive issue on Say Us is the same issue that affects many modern jam-ish sounding bands: a separation from your influences. There are some points on the album which sound almost identical to The White Stripes or Led Zeppelin. While it is absolutely impossible to not sound at least sort of like the mu­sic you listen to, it’s a problem when no clear distinction can be made be­tween your songwriting and your fa­vorite band’s songwriting. Thankful­ly, Zeus takes from some of the best influences, touching on Neil Young and even Fleetwood Mac.

Some tracks have a tendency to feel like filler, but there are real standouts, like “Marching Through Your Head” which accomplishes ev­erything that a song should. There’s infectious hooks, genuine energy and variation in song structure.

And on top of all of that, the band members are really good mu­sicians. Zeus certainly has room for improvement, but with only a few minor tweaks the band could easily garner a sizable and faithful fan base. Though it has its downfalls, Say Us can make you feel like you’re driving down a sunny road next to a farm in Tennessee with a big, goofy grin on your face — and not enough music achieves that.