Audio Mixer: Chris Woodhouse.
Recording information: The Dock (08/2015).
A fair amount has happened with the Zig Zags since their self-titled debut hit the streets in 2014. Most significantly, the original rhythm section exited the group, and now singer, guitarist, and all-around fearless leader Jed Maheu is accompanied by bassist Caleb Miller and drummer Dane Arnold. Not that the end result has changed that much; if 2016's Running Out of Red sounds a bit harder and more driven than the debut, the same metal/punk/stoner axis still guides this band's actions. And the Zig Zags still want to be the band pumping out of the 8-Track player in some hesher's rusted-out muscle car in the fall of 1973. Chris Woodhouse's production certainly pushes forward the metal aspects of Maheu's guitar sound, and the garage punk accents that Ty Segall brought out on the debut are less audible. But the Zig Zags are still intent upon making music that sounds like it was created for a beast with a bong in one hand and The Satanic Bible in the other. If that description sounds cool to you, then you'll probably like Running Out of Red a whole lot. Maheu's guitar work is still chunky, powerful, and meaty. Miller and Arnold reliably keep everything moving forward in fifth gear and help Maheu's vendetta against the listener's eardrums. And the band walks a fine line between chucking at the cliches of heavy rock while acknowledging its very real pleasures. There isn't much here that the Zig Zags didn't do on their debut album, or that hundreds of bands did before them. But if you're still looking for top-quality guitar raunch with ironic wit but a genuine desire to rock, Running Out of Red should do the trick just fine, and if this doesn't make your old Camaro shake, nothing will. ~ Mark Deming