Zoo Brazil’s 2012 release ‘Any Moment Now’ was his most song-centric, while ‘Point Of View’ in 2018 saw him explore an as-pacey, but altogether moodier, sombre and possibly even more introspective sonic. And come 2020, through ‘For Sins And False Alarms’, another acknowledgeable different theme prevails. Two years and two months removed from ‘Point Of View’, the Swede fields 12 new tracks, which see the tone deepen and the musical outline reshape into something altogether clubbier.
More instrument-driven in nature, its vocal-less numbers regularly touch on styles broadly housey (both classic and contemporary) and techno-like in style. The vocal cuts that do exist have allowed him to resume working with a close-knit group of singers. ‘Any Moment Now’ and ‘Point Of View’ alumni Ursula Rucker returns, whilst having sung on ‘POV’s ‘Nine Mind’, English songstress Mama’s also back behind the mic. John’s brought new blood in too, with Laura Bettinson (under her FEMME pseudonym) likewise lending voice to ‘Sins’.
‘Getting Closer’ strikes a positive opening note for ‘Sins’, which - through its riff sway, French House suggestions and strummed guitars summons much coastal ether. ‘Brighter Than The Sun’ adds bass pulse and shaking breaks, before underscoring its chorus with subtle 303.
Routing the album down a sparser, more minimal line, ‘I Don’t Remember’ hooks the attention with its sirenic female harmonies and deceptively slight timbale percs. ‘Mystery Walk’ raises the bass profile and kicks the tempo up again. Maintaining the floor pace, ‘Intersong’ brings LFO waves, harmonic float and bass guitar thrum, while reverb, vocoder & snare mark out ‘Alone’s production.
Wrapped in a classic house style by Ursula Rucker, ‘Never Enough’ delivers a stream-of-consciousness on consumerism. ‘Were sophisticated monsters of glamour’ smoulders London-born/Berlin-based singer Mama on ‘Monique’, as John’s production feeds the track house-sultry rhythms and melodies.
‘Atlantis’ meanwhile ushers in some Knuckles/Heard vibes and instrumentation, before ‘Change You’ housily pumps thing back up, replete with it every-bit-as Chicago-esque male vox. Tying off ‘For Sins And False Alarms’, ‘Sweet Talk’ flips both tone and chromosome, as singer FEMME upliftingly brings the album to an end-of-the-night-vibed conclusion.
‘For Sins And False Alarms’ by Zoo Brazil is out 27 March.