[sic] Magazine

Zig Zags – Running Out Of Red

Two years on from a debut that earned them fifth spot on [sic]’s Album Of The Year list, it’s an established fact Zig Zags rule and, just as with that self-consciously stupid record, there’s still more brains in team Zig Zag that they’re letting on. While the LA-based trio continue to portray themselves as knuckle-dragging thrash lords (and they are), there’s equally a smart double meaning going on with their new album, Running Of Of Red. Naturally the band’s trashy garage-metal peaks in the red at every opportunity, but their thrilling debut also happened to be released on venerable rock label In The Red too (this time they’re on the similarly excellent Castle Face). Wondering then what happens to the EQ after the red has been exhausted? Running Out Of Red is unequivocally the answer.

“A soundtrack to getting high, occasionally getting laid…occasionally getting laid out”, Castle Face house producer Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, FUZZ) gets the hot-seat, overseeing 35 minutes of heavy riffs, incandescent solos and 80s thrash, the album’s expected psychedelic elements limited to blown-out grooves and heavy-drinking biker fuzz. Insensitive and studded with colourful language too, it’s exactly the sort of LP you wouldn’t bring home to meet your mother.

For each of its dumbest outbursts, however – the breakneck, Slayer-style ode to a stolen bit of smoking paraphernalia “My Lighter” and the fragments of “Crazy Horses” found in “Sin Eaters” included – Running Out Of Red is surprisingly nuanced. Its tempos vary; its track lengths too. Smash-and grab-punk collides with bonged-out fuzz. In the latter category, the six-and-a-half minute single “They Came For Us”, the album’s longest track by some distance, is the only song guitarist/singer Jed Maheu has “ever recorded while stoned” and it has a total scorched-earth policy. “The Sadist”, on the other hand, houses serious headbanging chug, rippling on quickfire snares and contorting into snotty, skate-punk shred. In between the two, “Can’t Afford The Basics” is metal for punks with attitude and battle jackets, while the filthy crunch of “Lizard”, which amongst other things condemns rather than endorses spousal violence (I think), aptly has guitars that cut through the buzzing bass amp like Jesus Lizard’s own rusty garrote. Zig Zags’ killer hard-rock might not hit quite so fiercely everywhere, but Running Out Of Red is exactly the sort of bone-headed party you won’t want to miss all the same. Pound a cheap beer in its honour.

Best track: “The Sadist”

~Running Out Of Red is released May 27th 2016 on Castle Face.~