Zen Guerrilla - Positronic Raygun

Zen Guerrilla - Positronic Raygun
Release Date:
January 23, 1998
Recording Date:
Recording Location:
Hyde Street Studios, San Francisco, CA; Third Story Recording, Philadelphia, PA
Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Rock Revival, Indie Rock, Blues-Rock, Garage Rock, Hard Rock, Psychedelic/Garage
Positronic Raygun

Zen Guerrilla's long-overdue sophomore full-length (it was preceded by an inconspicuous debut five years earlier and a set of EPs in between), 1998's Positronic Raygun, was a mixed bag. Although their overall mission statement (regurgitating post-MC5 proto-psych-punk-blues for the unsuspecting "me" generation) and signature sound (guitars set on maximum fuzz distortion, frenetic drums, and Marcus Durant's crazed, echo-laden screams) were already pretty much intact, the Delaware group's songwriting wasn't yet entirely up to snuff.

Manic instrumental opener "Saucerships to Ragtime" sets the wild, warped (and weird) tone outright, and the re-recorded old single "Trouble Shake," with its insistent shouts to "Wake up in the morning," is certain to rouse even the sleepiest of listeners, maybe even get them to testify.

The bluesy piano/harmonica intermission "Roachman" provides a short breather before segueing into further slabs of raucous, unrestrained lunacy, including "Empty Heart," "She's a Radar," and the excellent "Tomato Cup," which cleverly disfigures the classic "Dust My Broom" slide riff into near-oblivion.

Finally, confirming that they are far from a one-trick pony, Zen Guerrilla whips out the gentle blues ballad "Healing in the Water" as a final reprieve, leading up to the album's soothing denouement a few songs later via the soul loop outro "Frequency Out."

Saucerships to Ragtime / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:15
Trouble Shake / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:28
Roachman / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla1:05
She's Radar / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:28
Tomato Cup / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:38
Fingers / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:15
Empty Heart / Mick Jagger / Keith RichardsZen Guerrilla3:17
Swamp / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla3:46
54 Stars and Stripes / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:42
Healing in the Water / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla3:42
2000 Watts Over the South Side / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:55
Frequency Out / Zen GuerrillaZen Guerrilla2:50

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