Flint arrowheads adorn the artwork to Arms
, the second proper full length by the uncategorizable, ever-fluctuating collective Zs. Could be a nod to the primitive prog found within. These five New Yorkers turn out hyper-meditated chamber compositions for the brainy Neanderthal set, sometimes using tom-toms and squawking saxophone to bash rhythms into lumpy mush, other times favoring devilish melody lines played in lunkheaded unison by electric guitar, sax and drums. Arms
deploys a Minimalism-born passion for repetition more judiciously than on previous Zs releases. And for the first time vocals emerge as a major focus, both as interlocking melodic lines (on the mind-bending “Nobody Wants to Be Had”) and as agents of ritual repetition (on “Except When You Don’t Because Sometimes You Won’t”).
But more than any individual component, it’s the overall vibe of Arms
that sticks out most -- alien and sort of clinical, sure, but also wildly diverse and more than a little bit of fun.