Zebra & Giraffe’s new EP ‘Slow Motion’ was released on Friday, November 13th, 2015. Although they claim that Slow Motion has no particular sound or genre- there is a new, cleaner production style and this serves as a common thread. Greg Carlin, Zebra & Giraffe’s frontman explains the reason behind hiring a new American producer Cian Riordan:‘We wanted to push ourselves in different directions and not play it safe by producing the same thing.” All the songs’ structure are centered around hooks – this is why ‘Slow Motion’ has more of a pop sound than Zebra & Giraffe’s previous releases.
The work itself is not a bad attempt at stripping down their layered sound into a simple neat frame, but this trend of minimalism doesn’t always work, especially in a band setting and particularly this one. Condensing themselves has drawn attention to Carlin’s mediocre vocals and boasts no unique style. They have in fact unveiled their biggest flaw instead of playing on their greatest asset. However, if this ‘revamp’ has any merit it would be in revealing their incredibly honest and raw writing style.
Their new style has unrefined structural basics slightly reminiscent of late 90’s pop-punk, and although quite commercial still has a very South African flavour to it. Their passion for moving out of their comfort zone is definitely evident in the diversity of each track. Ranging from punk-alternative to quite hard rock and even venturing to electro in “It’s All the Same”. Having the confidence to play with their sound in such a diverse way is a brave move. Although this diversity does work on some level, it all seems a little too separate. None of the songs work together and each feels like its own entity.
Apart from blurring their genre from rock to pop they’re writing is a lot less dark. These more positive themes probably make it more pop than rock and feature vocals from newcomer Ruby Gill on “You Are”. Maybe recording in at Panoramic House in Stinson Beach in California is what inspired their new upbeat feel. Carrying their sunny pop lyrics into most of the songs such as “It’s All The Same” and “Won’t Break Down.”
All in all not a bad listen but not really anything progressive or inspiring. Certainly nothing we are used to hearing from the South African ‘Rock’ band Zebra and Giraffe but bound to be stuck in your head.