Album Reviews, Artists / Bands, Culture, Metal / Hard Rock, Rock — February 11, 2013 at 9:37 am

Review: ZZ Top – La Futura


Artist Name: ZZ Top
Title Name: La Futura
Label: American Recordings
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini


Throughout the history of rock, some bands came to be almost sub-genres of their own. You can’t place them in any existing sub-genre (or at least not just one), and their name and fame transcend the very definition of any sub-genre. These bands are institutions and not just bands – and yes, ZZ Top is one of those bands.

Their blend of boogie rock, southern rock, country, hard rock and blues-rock with hooks borrowed from pop is unique. Their appearance, rugged men with long beards that look like they came out of a western movie, is unique. Their longevity as a band, same three guys together for forty years, ignoring all trends and playing like we’re still in the early 70s is unique. Their musicianship – do I need to go there?  – Dusty Hill and Frank Beard providing one of the most swingy rhythm sections in rock, and Billy Gibbons representing what guitar playing is all about – is unique. And after an almost ten year hiatus, their release La Futura, produced by also legendary Rick Rubin, is a sight for sore eyes and ears.

The album opens with a rap-turned-boogie cover named “I Gotsta Get Paid”, that has the entire groove you would expect, combined with the malicious lyrics of rap music. An instantaneous classic, accompanied by another iconic in-the-desert-with-hot-rods-and-hot-girls kind of video.

“Chartreuse” and “Consumption” follow suit in shuffle style, two songs that could easily be associated with their multi-platinum Eliminator era, so satisfaction guaranteed there. “Over You” tone things down a bit in ballad mode, while “Heartache in Blue” delivers, as the name implies, a bluesy tune with harmonicas and guitars fighting for attention. Next two songs pick up the rocker pace again, while the slow bluegrass boogie of the cover “It’s too easy mañana”, originally by David Rawlings and Gillan Welch, finds the band once again paying tribute to their roots. Album closes off with another rocker “Big Shiny Nine”, followed by the licks of “Have a Little Mercy” almost in jam session style.

Verdict: folks out there, there is only one band like ZZ Top, and that is ZZ Top. Their origins and their originality both shine through once again here: they didn’t invent neither blues nor rock, but they are unique at mixing the two up and hitting you in the stomach with it. This album proves that once again. 



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