Album Reviews

The Zutons

The Big Decider

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2008 is remembered for a financial crisis, the Beijing Olympics, Barack Obama being elected U.S. President and Iron Man kickstarting the Marvel Cinematic Universe that now features an unfathomable amount of films and shows.

That year also saw The Zutons release their third album, ‘You Can Do Anything’ which, despite fairing well in the charts, failed to achieve the success of their previous two records. By the end of the 2009 festival circuit, the group quietly disbanded and a band once seen as having a big future was done.

With the members moving onto new projects, starting families and living life, it seemed for a long time that a reunion of any sorts was off the table. After a one-off show in 2016, it would then be 2019 when fans would finally get a more solidified tour in celebration of their debut album.

When a handful of shows occurred in the next few years it seemed that a semi-lasting reunion was in effect though any hopes of new music still seemed unrealistic. Fans therefore were delighted when a fourth album was teased with the legendary Nile Rodgers onboard as producer.

In true Zutons fashion it would then take a further two years to confirm the release of ‘The Big Decider’ some 16 years since their last album. That announcement was followed by the release of lead single ‘Creeping On The Dancefloor’, which instantly spotlighted the influence of Rodgers on the record. The bands custom indie sound surrounded by disco funk vibes.

The Zutons – ‘Creeping On The Dancefloor’

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That track also welcomes listeners to the album before leading into recent single ‘Pauline’, which is more of a tone-setter for the nine track collection. Slower and more methodical than their previous work, there isn’t any of their trademark uplifting charm that shines through on classics like ‘Valerie’.

Indeed this is a very different band then the one that crafted their reputation of joyous guitar pop in the noughties. The fact is though that it’s a different world that they find themselves releasing this record (well except the financial predicament), and they are of course different people now. Literally in some cases with only frontman Dave McCabe, sax maestro Abi Harding and drummer Sean Payne still in situ.

Yes, ‘The Big Decider’ isn’t a rehash of their original output and nor should it be. With Rodgers’ and Ian Broudie’s assistance they’ve created something unique and different which is a good way of describing what the band has always been. They didn’t fit the landfill indie scene perfectly and they aren’t aligned with the recent indie resurgence.

That does raise the question of what the audience for this album will be? Whilst the 35 minute duration helps keep things succinct, there isn’t really anything that will grab your attention on here either. The album is worth a listen and is a nice reminder of the group’s talent. It doesn’t tarnish their early work as some returns do, but it doesn’t necessarily add much either.

Still, it’s good to finally have The Zutons back and releasing new music together. Hopefully ‘The Big Decider’ is just a first step into a brand new era from this gem of a band.

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