Monday, August 11, 2014

Zebra - No Tellin' Lies

Zebra is a hard rock band that formed in the mid-70’s in New Orleans, Louisiana. The group consisted of Randy Jackson (guitar and lead vocals), Felix Hanemann (bass, keyboards and vocals) and Guy Gelso (drums and vocals). After a number of years doing covers, the band was signed to Atlantic Records. This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of No Tellin’ Lies, their second studio album. It spent eleven weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 84.

Side one starts with “Wait Until the Summer’s Gone”, a mid-tempo rocker that reminds me quite a bit of Led Zeppelin - one of the band’s Zebra covered in their early days.

“I Don’t Like It” is a little bit lighter, definitely more in the pop-rock realm.

“Bears”, released as a promotional single, opens with a progressive-rock sound and then shifts over to the pop-rock category.

“I Don’t Care” mixes it up with a blues-rock riff that just doesn’t quit. I defy you to not bob your head or tap your foot to this one. This is quickly my favorite track on the first half.

Also a promotional single, the ballad “Lullaby” closes the side on a softer note. I can sense some Beatles and Electric Light Orchestra influences on this one. The vocal harmonies and the piano hook really sell it for me.

Side two opens with the title track. “No Tellin’ Lies” has an intriguing, underlying hook to it that immediately stood out to me; it gives the song an edge of danger.

Things kick back into high gear with the rollicking “Takin’ a Stance”.

“But No More”, the longest track at just four seconds shy of five minutes, is my least favorite track of the ten.

I was ready for “Little Things” to bring me back around; it tried but did not have enough oomph to pull it off. I was getting an REO Speedwagon vibe off this one.

The final track on the record is the revving “Drive Me Crazy”.

I have to say that I don’t recall having listened to Zebra back in the 80’s, but certainly if I had seen this in stores I might have bought it just based on that eye-catching album cover. Overall, I liked what I heard on No Tellin‘ Lies. The compositions are solid and there are strong melodies through out. Jackson has a high soaring voice that gives each song added wings.

If you have never heard this one, go give it a listen over on Spotify. If you’re like me, a few of the tracks will really pop for you.

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