Houston Music

ZZ Top: A Double-Sided Take on the New Texicali EP

Craig Hlavaty: What a way to tease your first album of original material in nine years, ZZ Top. You managed to record three songs and one ballad that instantly fit into your canon alongside the rest of your ballbusters without sounding like a classic-rock act reaching for straws.

This is no weak, middling effort, and with the short running time, it allows listeners to digest the work without overload. Why can't more acts release four songs at a time? Draw it out, milk it, give us a few courses before the main dish, the album. Plus, we don't mind giving you our money.

The mixing on Texicali shoves the band's trademark blues/rock/filth directly into your ears, with Rick Rubin's imagineering leading the charges. Everything about this effortless effort is pitch-perfect. They aren't trying to reinvent the wheel, they are regulating.

We all heard "I Gotsta Get Paid" teased on that Jeremiah Weed commercial and they have made good on the promise of that snippet. It's everything you want and need from a ZZ Top song. "Chartreuse" comes with an echo of "La Grange" at the start, and then eases into a grinding gallop.

This shit drips from their fingers, and that fact makes me sad, that it took so long for new music to come out. My favorite here, though, is "Consumption," which I think I listened to ten times when it leaked last week. It's sleek without sounding too modern, and does this weird tunnel thing around 3:33.

"Over You" is the only thing here that I didn't listen to a dozen times while writing this review. When ZZ slows down, it's more challenging for me, but lyrically Gibbons is slaying it. There is a touch of Sam Cooke to it, without getting schmaltzy. Digging the torchy guitar attached on the end, too.

The only tragedy here seems to be that I cannot physically make this any louder inside my earholes right now without causing permanent damage. "More, more, more!" said the baby.

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