Let’s face it, a lot of today’s alt rock/alterna-pop wants to ride on the coattails of arena-filling acts like Bastille, The 1975, Imagine Dragons and Mumford and Sons. And why? Because it’s accessible. It appeals to the “younger generation.” Casual fans of contemporary alternative rock and pop rock can both find enjoyment in their music. It’s something they can play for their friends without being ridiculed for listening to “weird music.”
I’m not trying to mock these acts (and, for the record, I enjoy a good bit of what Bastille has done musically and I’ve seen Mumford and Sons live. It was incredible), but this just seems to be a big trend in the music world nowadays. Sometimes the results are alright, sometimes they’re actually pretty good, sometimes they’re such an obvious knockoff it’s painful, but sometimes it just creates a slew of tracks that are overwhelmingly “meh.”
Thankfully, this new single from Zipper Club borrows its cues from a bit further back in the music world than the modern-day chart toppers. And the result is quite satisfying.
Zipper Club’s “Going the Distance” world premiered a few weeks ago on the Alt Nation (channel 36 for Sirius XMU satellite radio subscribers) Advanced Placement playlist. It is a delightful homage to 80’s college rock, with a bouncy recurring synth hook and an upbeat chorus of layered harmonies reminiscent of Flesh for Lulu’s “I Go Crazy.”
I especially love the switch-off between Mason James and Lissy Trullie in the lead vocal, a style that reminds me of something The Human League would do during the early 80’s or, for a more modern comparison, an early 2000’s single from New Order.
The straightforward drumming (which, by the way, comes from TV on the Radio drummer Jahphet Landis) and chord structure of the song, while simple, give a feeling of growing anticipation for good things to come. This is a prominent theme on the track with lyrics like “The best part of growing old/Is knowing that your story is about to unfold.”
Lyrically, this is a fun little track about trying to carve out a name for yourself in the big wide world (much like Zipper Club themselves in today’s alt rock scene) with a few cute hints towards yearning for an emotional connection with someone just as driven as you.
Musically, it makes you want to jump to your feet, get out there and check that tough item off your to-do list. Get that promotion. Talk to that special someone you keep seeing around town with impeccable music taste. Ace that economics final (sorry, that’s the student in me). Go the distance.
Like the song’s hope for good things yet to come, I hope that Zipper Club is more than just a passing single in a forever-enlarging alt rock world. Looking forward to what this band creates in the future.
Thanks for reading, and as always, God bless.