The Zou's latest project is a like a double album - only the band is making fans wait for the second disc.
The Youngstown band - Khaled Tabbara, lead vocals, guitar and keyboards; Murad G. Shorrab, vocals and bass guitar; Bernadette Lim, keyboards and vocals; Jesse Martin, lead guitar; and Jake Sabeh, drums and digital percussion - will celebrate the release of "Kills Part 1" with a show Saturday at the Lemon Grove Cafe. "Kills Part 2" nearly is finished and will be released in the next six months.
"I think the fun part of it is that 'Kills Part 1' and 'Kills Part 2' are like act 1 and act 2 with an intermission," Tabbara said. "It's like a double album that has a moment of anticipation where you are waiting for the second half of the album to come out. The releases are like two releases related to each other. 'Kills Part 1' is an introduction to the characters and act 1, followed by the period where you wait for 'Kills Part 2' to come out, which is the intermission. Then 'Kills Part 2' is the resolution."
The Zou — from left, Jesse Martin, Murad G. Shorrab, Bernadette Lim, Khaled Tabbara and Jake Sabeh — celebrates the release of “Kills Part 1” with a show Saturday at the Lemon Grove Cafe.
"Kills Part 1" and "Kills Part 2" each include seven songs. Tabbara described "Kills Part 1" as a cross between a long EP and a short album, and the collection of songs fit together like a family, akin to the band's 2007 release, "The Pinebox" EP.
"The album, 'Kills Part 1,' is like act 1 of a play, but there is no plot, but instead it is a musical conflict," he said. "It's not a musical but like a 1970s concept album, like Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' (1979), dealing with the frustrations with fame. The songs on 'Kills Part 1' have to do with your relationships ending and growing into your own adult identity."
When listening to "Kills Part 1," Tabbara said that some songs will be recognizable to faithful show goers, while others never have been played live. The band also shot a music video for the song "Soon! Ok?" the album's second track. The song "Take Your Love Away" was with recording engineer, editor and archivist Larry Crane, who has worked with such acclaimed acts as The Decemberists, Versus, The Go-Betweens and Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement).
WHO: The Zou and
The Van Allen Belt
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Lemon Grove Cafe, 110 W. Federal St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $5.
Musically, "Kills Part 1" is diverse in soundscapes and musical influences.
"'Take Your Love Away' was like a Johnny Cash song," Tabbara said. "The opening track, 'Pink Lincoln' (Overture), has more of a progressive rock influence. The song 'Soon! Ok?' is a unique song because it has electronic and Nintendo elements. The song sounds like a robot church. The song 'Some With Heads, Some Without' is like a Peter Gabriel classic. That song is a term my grandmother used to use in Arabic when describing unique people. That song is a very personal song."
The Zou experiments into Tom Waits-esque spooky balladry on the track "Driving Through Ghosts," which showcases the band's dark artistic persona.
"We recorded 'Driving Though Ghosts' live at Kontinuous Jams recording studio in Boardman," Tabbara said. "In the song, we included some accordion and piano. We included a Celesta, which is an old electromechanical keyboard. You hear a Celesta in a lot of old theater productions such as 'Peter Pan.' Whenever Tinkerbell appears, you hear a Celesta, which is the quintessential Tinkerbell noise."
Tabbara believes that "Kills Part 1" will showcase an eclectic side to the Zou. The album, as a whole, should be a wonderful surprise for fans old and new.
"I am excited to see people's reaction to 'Kills Part 1.' This album is a little bit different than what we have done in the past."