Saul Zonana: Phatso

RIYL: The Beatles, Butch Walker, Crowded House

Singer/songwriter/rocker Saul Zonana may sometimes experiment with different ideas, sounds and songwriting nuggets, but regardless, his music is almost always melodic and extremely appealing. Such is the case with Zonana’s latest, Phatso, self-recorded and produced in his hometown of Nashville with a small supporting cast. Zonana has also toured with and hung around the legendary Adrian Belew a lot the last few years, and some of Belew’s eccentric ways have rubbed off on Zonana where his songwriting is concerned. Tracks like “Boogyman,” “Mr. Pulsfuss,” and “Direction” are signature Saul, with the same Beatlesque harmonies and guitar tones, and are worth the price of admission here. But he veers left of center a few times, especially on the title track, which features female old-timey vocals and instrumentation. This one sounds like a radio commercial, but as far as that goes, “Really Expensive Cream” is not a song but a comedic bit that is actually meant to be a commercial. It’s funny, but it’s not something you’ll want to listen to over and over again. And two of the best tracks are the acoustic-driven “About You” and “In the Moment.” The former especially is not the type of song we’ve come to expect from Saul, but a really pleasant, stripped-down surprise. And with Phatso, surprise is the name of the game – from a good game at that. (20/20 Music 2010)

Saul Zonana website


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