Zechs Marquise - Getting Paid
Record Label: Rodriguez Lopez Productions
Release Date: September 27, 2011
One look at the album cover to Zechs Marquise's sophomore record should indicate what you're about to get yourself into. The artwork for Getting Paid should readily throw your senses back to either the section of used vinyls from your parents' days of soul and funk or the glimpses of Parliament and jazz fusion hits of an era many of us confuse with the commercialized bastard child known as disco. Rest assured, Getting Paid is nothing but a precise groove of excellence.
The lead title track is a perfect intro into what's to come, but it's one of the tamest of the bunch as well. When "Lock Jaw Night Vision" strolls into its opening effects board against the beats of Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez's drumming, it gives some sort of stabilization to the whole bit before guitarists Marcos Smith and Matthew Wilkinson go off on each other and weave in and out like a needle and thread on overdrive. The rhythmic romp of "Time Masters" is a coke-fest worthy of Studio 54 as the addition of Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez's keys really add a welcomed layer to the album, but really standout on this track.
"The Heat The Drought The Thirst and The Insanity" leaves a bright channel open for Sunnie Baker's falsetto alongside the sprawling song. On "Everlasting Beacon of Light," Matt Embree's haunting guest vocals make me shed a tear for the death of not only the RX Bandits, but that there may never be another The Sound of Animals Fighting record ever again in the future. The slow pace into the pending fury of guitars towards the end of the song makes it one of the strongest on the album. Nothing tops "Static Lovers" in my eyes. It shows how Zechs Marquise have honed in on cutting some of the fat from their previous work. I understand that the needle and groove of the band lies in the psych- and prog- of their art form, but the finest tracks on Getting Paid show a band that has learned to attack and change things up at the right time, instead of floating around with ideas for however long you might end up loosing interest.
My biggest gripe with the record is the mastering of Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez's bass. His work sticks out phenomenally live, but no matter the manner of audio equipment I put this through, his talents seemed wasted in the layers. It was an unfortunate realization upon every listen. With "Mega Slap" barreling sound through a vacuum of insanity to close the album out, Zechs Marquise met my expectations after their amazing live set at this year's South by Southwest, which proved to be one of the best of the week. The band certainly cleaned up on Getting Paid. I only see them getting stronger as the years go by as they continue to rekindle the elements of rhythm and soul back into what seems like a dead feeling these days.
How this album can remind someone of RX Bandits' ...And the Battle Begun; Parliament's Mothership Connection; Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, three versatile and incredible albums that have changed rock music, and still only get an 84% is beyond me. This album is definitely a game changer IMO and probably my album of the year. I thought the bass was where it should be. He stands out live because he is the backbone of zechs and probably plays the main role in arranging these songs. I'm sure he and the band had a vision, and with three guitarists, it seems almost irresponsible to put the bass anywhere else besides behind, guiding the guitars. It's one hell of a guide but marfred's talent has to be the martyr. And the everyone else in zechs made sure it was not in vein. Best album i've heard in a long time.