Zillion by Ty Richards is a well-executed Rock record with a focus on the theme of space. The album starts of strong with the song Spaceman that opens with a trippy accelerating synth line that drops into a head-nodding grove. Then the lead guitar comes in with a very bright and distorted tone. The vocals come in very airy and smooth and the lyrics introduce the theme of space with the chorus repeating, “You’re a Spaceman waking up a zillion miles away”. As the song progresses the synth builds back up creating a thicker atmosphere and continues building until the climax of the song were there are cool abrupt cut outs that almost sound like a record skipping but are rhythmic and very attention grabbing.
The second song, Shoulda Coulda Woulda, features a more prominent vocal and more driving drum beat. The groove between the bass and drums is rock solid and the bass tone is great. The guitar tone is straight garage rock and sounds right out of the 70’s. Overall the song evokes the feeling of being on a psychedelic space beach and this is pretty much the feeling of the whole album.
Uncle Ben has a bluesier feel than the previous tracks, with straightforward lyrics and then breaks into an unexpected chorus of ahh’s. The vocals during the chorus can be slightly annoying but it quickly moves back into the funky blues feel of the verse and ends with a funny outro.
Kiss With the Lights Out continues on with great bass tone that locks in just right with drums. The guitar tone is consistent through the album at this point but it is a great crunchy tone that doesn’t get old. The vocal hook in the chorus is one of the strongest in the album. The synth is also reintroduced here which helps maintain interest.
Naked Girls is the first song on the album whose lyrics really jump out at you as it starts out with the repetition of the title. The synth design is really good in this one it is a nice change of pace to have a synth driven song. On first listen the lyrics are comical but after repeated listens they become less entertaining and reveal themselves as some of the weakest on the album, still the humor is refreshing when so often indie rock can take itself to seriously.
You Are A Star is another keyboard driven song and my favorite of the album. It has the mellowest vibe of all the tracks and the smoothest vocal. After this point the album returns to the space beach vibe and is mostly guitar driven with three strong tracks even if none of them particularly stand out or are occasionally weighed down with annoying backing vocals. The closing track is another highlight and features the best guitar tone on the album. When the solo comes in it sounds like a distorted needle scratching melodically.
Zillion is solid album without any real duds and several highlights including the opener and closer, which helps make for a memorable listen. The space theme is definitely audible in the timbres of the guitars and vocals and in the incorporation of synths even if it isn’t concrete in the lyrics throughout. There is nice ebb and flow between the tracks in terms of style, tempo, arrangements and tone. The whole record is locked down by great bass tones. Overall it is very reminiscent of 70’s rock and will surely be enjoyed by fans of The Black Keys and Tame Impala.
By: Brandon McKie