Zac Brown Band: Jekyll + Hyde

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With a title like that you just know the aim is to mix things up a little. ZBB might be tagged as country, but they’re on a mission to stretch beyond the genre.

So among the more typical material there are some truly striking departures, not least Chris Cornell popping up on Heavy Is The Head, with its spiralling riff and thick, distorted bass.

In a similar way-out-there vein, Junkyard is a weird and claustrophobic prog-country gem, with a writing credit going to Roger Waters for elements of Is There Anybody Out There? It’s an astonishing highlight, right up there with the more straight-up cover of ex-Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell’s Dress Blues.

Ironically, these more daring forays emphasise the inoffensive blandness of some of the other tracks, but if the future holds more similarly brave experimentation then ZBB are on a fascinating career trajectory.

Classic Rock 215: New Albums A-G

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Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.