Reviews Music Zeus — Say Us

Zeus — Say Us

Zeus - Say Us
ZeusSay Us
Arts & Crafts; 2010
12 Tracks; LP, CD, Digital Download


Review by: Jen Polk

Toronto rockers Zeus, once known as Jason Collett's backing band, have released their debut album. And it's great.

I can be a bit grouchy sometimes. Take my first reaction to Zeus, for example: I heard that Jason Collett's backing band had formed a band for themselves, called Zeus, and that they'd been signed to Arts & Crafts before they'd even put anything out or played that many shows. So I decided to not like them. Except I'd never heard them. But then my non-grouchy side got the better of me, and I saw them during 2009's NxNE festival. And I was impressed. Though the Courthouse isn't really the best place to see them, their classic rock-ish sound got to me, and I resolved to pay more attention. It must have been at that show that I picked up an A&C sampler disc, which had an unreleased Zeus track on it, "Fever of the Time." And soon enough that song became one of my favourites, along with the tunes Zeus had already put out on their debut EP, Sounds Like Zeus.

So, I became a total fangirl. I even waited outside in the rain for 45 minutes on a Wednesday night to see Zeus at the Dakota Tavern one night. I don't do that.

Now Zeus has released a full-length. It is called Say Us, and I like it. It's good old fashioned rock 'n' roll: a taste of surf guitar, some fuzz, definite reverb, strong melodies, an appropriate amount of country-rock vibes, surprising honky-tonk piano, etc. It takes all that's good about rock and ignores all that's bad. And those men can sing! The album make me happy, and my dad would love it too.

A few of the songs are repeats of the EP's winners ("How Does It Feel," "Marching through Your Head," and "I Know"), which leaves room for 9 new ones, including the awesome "Fever of the Time." Not every song is a hit, but the ones that excite me less ("You Gotta Tell'er") show off the band's range and keep things from getting boring. Of the new-to-me songs, "The Renegade" is great fun, like a rockier Vetiver tune. "Greater Times on the Wayside" is an intro to "The River by the Garden," which is one of my favourites. Plucky guitar, playful vocals . . . love it! The last three songs don't disappoint either, especially "The Sound of You" and "At the Risk of Repeating."

This record is great fun, with lots of pep and songs that remind me of a lot of great bands, both past and present. There's no attempt to be cutting-edge here, and thank goodness for that. Just through-and-through good times.

Zeus are playing a free set at Soundscapes in Toronto on Saturday, March 6th, 2010 at 6:00pm. The band will perform as part of the "Bonfire Ball" with Jason Collett and Bahamas at Lee's Palace the following Wednesday as part of CMW.