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MP3 Zru Vogue - Survival of the Cutest

Eclectic, funky, rhythmic, melodic surrealist rock for thinking humans.

13 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, ROCK: Progressive Rock

Survival of the Cutest: Beyond the Beautiful

Pretty Fairies on the Daisies are Falling into Quicksand, and all we can do is enjoy it.

As always, the best way to talk about Zru Vogue is to shut up and listen. Here are two men who transcend the endless poppy fields of cliché rock/alt/pop and emerge with a quirky beauty all their own. Zru Vogue has always been like that - just more so now. As a group, they''ve been knocked around some, have had their battles and their successes. And they are the better for it, like a wine reaching its prime.

Andrew Jackson and Rick Cuevas are back together and it''s almost as though they never parted - except that each seems to have brought a new energy and wisdom to their combined effort. Intelligent observation makes for great art, and when two musicians like these can pool their hurts and joys, it is an awesome, even healing thing.

Their previous release, Beautiful Again, sent them headlong into this next album, like something shot out of a cannon. And if Beautiful Again was a rebirth, then Survival of the Cutest is the mature and fully formed Zru. Some of the original playful Zruishness has been recaptured in Survival of the Cutest, and fans will be happy to hear the trademark "ethnothrob" sound once again in the rhythms of these tracks.

I''m listening to Survival of the Cutest as I write - and I am having some trouble staying in this chair. That''s another trait of Zru Vogue. Listening and moving - that''s how to enjoy it.

The songs, written by Andrew Jackson, flow confidently from the jilted "Pretty Fairies on the Daisies" to the wary "What It Means To Be" to the wistful "ifs" in "If Blood Was Wine." The angry anthems "Act Like Nothing''s Wrong" and "Dig Deeper" give way to the tragic, funny double-entendres of "Iron Man." Growling and funky, wonderfully repressed "No One Knows," leads to the absolute something of "Nuthin Means Nuthin." Then, of course, there''s the unbridled - if somewhat creepy - cuteness of "Japanese Schoolgirl Mapping Device." "Imperfect" should be an official hymn for the human race.

Is it strange that the final song, "Falling into Quicksand," the farewell track which is about falling, fading, fraying, floating away - also seems to me like a great make-out song? Zru Vogue does that: they suggest that even life''s dark twists can be full of brilliant excursions.

Zru Vogue''s Survival of the Cutest is an honest gemstone in the current sea of polymer pop mediocrity. Die-hard fans will rejoice at this new release, and new comers will get a chance to experience one of Zru Vogue''s finest.

- r. c. barajas / april 22, 2005

CD includes a full-color 12-page booklet with complete song lyrics and artwork by Andrew L. Jackson, Rick Cuevas, and Tokyo illustrator Mari-chan.


Andrew L. Jackson sings and plays wah-wah guitar, electric & acoustic guitars, drum & percussion loops, digital & analog synthesizers, various hand percussion, "harpsichord" guitar, organ, computer voices, synth drums, reverse wah-wah bass, and wah-wah rainstick.

Rick Cuevas sings and plays bass guitars, synthesizers, piano, organ, keyboard bass, slide e-bow guitars, electric rhythm & lead guitars, 12-string electric guitar, bongo drums, fuzzbox chip bag, modified wah-wah marimba, toy xylophone, and various hand drums & percussion.

All songs performed, arranged, and produced by Andrew L. Jackson & Rick Cuevas. Engineered and recorded by Rick Cuevas (assisted by Andrew L. Jackson) at Zrubutus Studio, Palo Alto, CA, USA.

All songs lyrics & music by Andrew L. Jackson, except "Intro," "Interlude," & "No One Knows" words by Andrew L. Jackson, music by Andrew L. Jackson & Rick Cuevas. Cover design by Andrew L. Jackson; cover illustrations by Mari-chan (https://www.tradebit.com).

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