steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Anxotica" CDR


Genres: pop, soft rock, indie pop

e-mail the band

Jun 23 - 29 2003

If anyone knows about a Denmark pop band called Learning From Las Vegas, then they'll probably be pleased to learn that there's another similar group out there.  With a bit more of a British slant, Zikzak relies on infectious, hooky pop melodies to make its point, and, as is also the case with LFLV, it's done well.  Anxotica is the band's second album, and it doubles as the soundtrack for a film of the same name.

Principle songwriter Todd Stadtman has a sheer talent for his craft - "A Popular Girl," for example, takes a simple XTC-like song structure and converts it into an adorable pop tune that basks in melody as well as originality.  "Memory Fails Me," meanwhile, is a more bittersweet tune - nice but falling a bit too close to lame soft rock territory.  Throughout the rest of the album, the listener is taken through a slick, laidback melody adventure, but sometimes the softness of the music can become a bit too "lite" for some tastes.  Like why would you have I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! when you can have the real thing with no calories gained?

But these are minor complaints, and ones that will hopefully be cleared up for the next release.  And after all, you have to give Zikzak credit for trying to inject a bit of edge into things with a mildly rocking tune like "The Town Is Closed."  In the future, however, the band may want to focus a bit more on the rock style.  But still, Anxotica is perfect for pop fans.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by Two Big Toes, released 2001]