This is the band’s first album in a mere 19 years, so not much expectation riding on this at all…
As soon as the album starts, it’s immediately welcoming and familiar, but without sounding like the band have plagiarised themselves, which is no mean feat. The charismatic vocals of the singer, and the mournful-yet-catchy melodies; both are striking and evocative from the very beginning.
One of the things I really like about Zero is that it’s a continuation of the Misery Loves Co. legacy, while also moving it forward at the same time. Usually when a band returns after such a long absence it’s to recapture old glories, but here it sounds as if the band’s primary motivation is to just continue to create the music that they love, which is laudable. These new songs are very recognisable as the band that so many people loved in the 90s, but delivered by artists that aren’t trapped there, desperate to return to past glories. I can’t really emphasise this enough; Zero is its own master, and is strong enough to please fans both old and new.
So yes, Zero‘s songs are well-written, catchy, and very moreish. The music is varied and the songs are differentiated nicely. There’s a depth of delivery and songwriting here that’s very satisfying, and these songs fly by with pleasant ease. Different moods, feelings, styles, and dynamics are used across the album, and it grows over time as the various elements worm their way into your skull and set up home there. There’s also a well-realised Garbage cover.
Despite being 52 minutes long, this is an effortlessly enjoyable listen that’s very easy to just spin again and again.
The return of Misery Loves Co. is better than I could have imagined, and I have not been disappointed. This is the band’s fourth album, not a rehash of their first, second, or third. Great stuff. Now let’s hope there’s a fifth.