Being a native New Jerseyan and student in New England, I’ve only made it up to Canada once. It was only Montreal, but I get the appeal. Hockey, poutine, and the whole healthcare thing… definitely chill. On a related note, the sound that Vancouver rockers Zoo Strategies bring to the table can be described as exactly that. Chill. Very chill. From listening to their new EP titled Separation, you can tell that Zoo Strategies definitely knows what they’re doing. The formula the band has at work throughout the EP gives it a similar catchiness to that of TTNG, and a melancholy yet satisfying feel comparable to American Football’s self-titled.
There’s always something special about when a band’s album art complements the music. The intro to this EP sounds essentially what the cover looks like. While this is only a simple thing, it put me into the correct listening mood to prepare for the following songs, which are just as well complemented by the visualization of a misty neighborhood block. Opening into the instrumental track ‘Actual Birthday’, the jazzy chords, bass lines, and drums synchronize through changing tempos. Although this is a prog-rich track, it’s extremely pleasurable and easy to listen to. Following this track, ‘Weekend Dad’ rides along a super pleasurable 5/4 beat. To me, the simplicity of this track really stands out. Following is ‘Bleeding Out’, a smooth post-rock track that is accentuated by beautiful acoustics and reverse delay. Finishing with ‘Teen Suicide Ghosts Roam These Skateparks’, the band continues to show how clean tone can sound so full.
A new personal favorite, Separation hits a sweet spot in accessibility that many bands either fall short of or overshoot. None of the songs are too long, nor do they utilize vocals that much, but it only goes to show that it pays off to write tasteful songs regardless of length or instrumental content.