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Zambri’s ‘From the Starts’ was recently described by FACT as sounding like Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’. But bar the fact that both songs feature the words “you love me”, there’s little similarity. ‘Paparazzi’ is made up of a few forgettable verses orbiting a good chorus, with nowhere near the presence that Zambri achieve here, in both ‘From the Start’s ominous backing and its brilliant sense of reduction: verses here are instrumental, with cut up echoes of the chorus floating through them.
Which begs the question, what do you compare ‘From the Starts’ to? You could draw links to fellow Brooklynites Telepathe in the bottom-heavy production and Suicide-esque electronic swirls, but where as Telepathe prefer to stay emotionally detached – there’s feeling in their music, but you usually have to dig deep in the nonsensical choruses and commitment-shy quasi-raps to find it – ‘From the Starts’ is, bizarrely pluralized title aside, upfront and direct in a way that little modern underground pop is, asking questions of a potential lover that would send most men running a mile.
That’s what makes this track great: for all the subtle effectiveness of an Ariel Pink hiding bold statements deep in lo-fi fuzz, Zambri not only let their tribute to commitment ride the top of the mix, but they endlessly repeat it and elevate it with the sort of crashing waves and mountaintop drums you’d associate with Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love. Let’s hope the rest of the lo-fi brigade take note: it’s possible to sound both feverishly hypnagogic and unashamedly direct.