I told DOA’s new head honcho not to send me any metal. So I was a little put off to find a band called Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer in my to-review pile. The name evokes images of novelty metal acts, like GWAR perhaps, and I was expecting guttural screaming and power riffs. Instead, the band described their music as a “power-pop gem.” Surely that can’t be right!
But what’s in a name, right? Philadelphia’s Zolof is a female-led power-pop band driven by mid-90s guitar chords and plenty of 80s moog keyboards to keep you bouncing up and down. I’m immediately reminded of Dressy Bessy’s pop and a punkier band like Ms. Led. In fact, that’s the perfect combination, plus a dose of Get Up Kids to result in something fun and playful with a dose, still, of rock & roll.
The album opens on one of its strongest notes with the guitar-driven pop of “The Way it Goes,” with its chorus of “That’s the way it goes, the way it goes / Hey! Hey! Hey!” Every time I hear “Way Away,” the bouncy rhythm and bouncy beat makes me sway and bob my head. It’s a fun song, no doubt about it, even if you won’t be singing it five minutes later. But you will be singing the chorus of the album’s highpoint, “Death or Radio”: “Let’s hold hands and listen to shitty bands!” I’m reminded of one of my favorite 90s bands, Magnapop, on the moog-led “The Moon and Mars,” making it another favorite.
“I Did It” is a little more conventional of a rock song, but it’s unique with its guitar lines and swirling keyboards. There’s some cowbell (you can never have enough cowbell) on the rocking “Secret Circuits,” which has to be a live favorite, and “I’m a Rock and Roll Mess” has a great shouted chorus to keep you rocking out. It has to be fun to shout out at concerts.
The problem with Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer isn’t the band name, although it’s disconcerting to say the least. It’s not a problem of energy or hooky songwriting. The band has a ton of energy and a knack for clever hooks and fun power-pop songs. The problem is that very few of these songs will linger with you. The best pop songs should linger far after the album is done, requiring multiple listens. These are very fun, rocking songs, and it’s hard to find any low points. You just may not remember it long after it’s done.