The genre-bending, Melbourne-based octet NO ZU have shared their new album Afterlife, which serves as a very logically-named sequel to their 2012 LP Life. It marks their first outing on Australian imprint Chapter Music, which has put in the hard work of independently releasing records for over 20 years.
The record marks a new chapter in the development of the band's self-styled genre called "heat beat," which combines elements of "no wave, funk, house, techno, and global percussion," per a press release. Yet while NO ZU's sound is heavily rooted in the dancefloor, that doesn't prevent them from bringing more intellectual ideas into the mix, too. Accordingly, the themes covered on Afterlife range from BDSM and immortality to interrogations of Australia's colonial history.
"The Afterlife album took ages to evolve out of the ZU goo," Bandleader Nic Oogjes explained via email. "We started to record it at the end of 2013, but we had no control over when it wanted to reveal its mutant self! We're all so overly ecstatic about it not only being released, but that it took its time to truly become its own world of references, aesthetics and ideas—the total-Afterlife-World."
Furthermore, he offered, "I see it fitting into the NO ZU pantheon as the nocturnal sex dream, sordid version of our first record Life, which was all day-glo idiosyncrasies and spontaneous energy. Afterlife takes Life, chains it up and whips it against the walls of an Australian Hades. Across the record, there's a very tangible sense of dancing in destruction, as though in a post-apocalyptic country or a land with a dark, dark past that gives the groove more muscle. You can't keep that Australian sunlight out though—and so, there are real moments, like the brass lines and Becky and Daphne's chanted vocals, that trigger a real emotional euphoria in me!"
Below, you can stream Afterlife in full ahead of its release Friday. Preorder the record from the Chapter Life website here.
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