Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Album Review: "Run Out Of Money And Die" by Zack Mexico

Zack Mexico released "Run Out Of Money And Die"
on April 20. You can purchase and stream the album
on their Bandcamp.
Zack Mexico have been serving as living proof that the scene in Eastern North Carolina is far from out-of-touch. While the coastal region of the state may not have the constant output of areas like the Triangle, that doesn't mean that there aren't some absolute musical gems hiding within the often overlooked area.

Zack Mexico have been crafting a unique blend of spacey surf rock for the past few years and with each release they seem to dig deeper and deeper into their musical niche. It's become increasingly harder to classify the group and that seems to be the plan here, their albums tend to bleed together pretty seamlessly despite the fact that each track is an amorphous blend of 70s psych-rock and indie pop.

Run Out Of Money And Die, conveniently released this past Sunday on the "joint" holiday to end all holidays of Easter and 4/20 (at least we can all agree on the candy), finds the band within familiar sonic territory. Those that heard Ephemera, the band's second full length released a mere six months ago, will find that Run Out Of Money And Die falls into a similar musical patch. The album is filled with a pretty even combination of short, fast-paced tracks that boast powerful, memorable hooks and spaced-out psych jams with equally compelling melodies and experimental noodling. For those that aren't afraid to get a little weird, Run Out Of Money And Die serves as an excellent break from a monotonous day, allowing the listener to jump into the frenetic minds of the young Zack Mexico crew.

Run Out Of Money And Die perfectly tows the line between subtlety and abrasiveness, one minute you're lost within the track thanks to the expansive mixes that toy with alternating panning and delays, the next you're giggling at tracks like "Reputation"as vocalist John Saturly eases into a low-toned melody proudly proclaiming his reputation for smoking pot. I've drawn comparisons to Frank Zappa with this band before and I feel like Run Out Of Money And Die does quite a bit to solidify that, there's some strange eccentricities on the album like "Reed Frost," a track whose chorus seems to just read off ingredients while dabbling in deep grooves.

However, what Run Out Of Money And Die does most effectively is solidify the fact that Zack Mexico is a band that has infinite potential on the horizon. It's hard to find an act like this that can pack an album with four tracks over 6 minutes and not have a single one feel monotonous or over the top. It's all methodically arranged so that the long, rambling songs are bookended by a few brief, almost punk-inspired tunes.

Ultimately Run Out Of Money And Die serves as an exciting continuation in the arc of Zack Mexico as musicians, it's clear that they're beginning to find their footing as a band. They're not shying away from long-running tracks when needed and they're not afraid to take listeners out of their comfort zone. Dissonant arrangements and low-toned vocals may make the band immediately stick out from a crowd, but their immense musical talents and knack for infectious melodies are what keeps fans coming back for more. Plop down on the couch with a pair of headphones and give this album a spin, it makes for an immersive listening experience that'll take you careening through a wide array of sonic fields...or whatever, man.


  1. I think we can also all agree that "Run Out Of Money And Die" is perhaps the greatest album name EVER.

  2. Zack Mexico's vocalist John Saturley has a uniquely melodious baritone voice that leaves the listener addicted. We need to hear more of it.