Zoom: Sweet Desperation 12" (new)

Ugly Pop Records

$7.00 $14.00

Bored of cover bands and Toronto's stagnant bar scene, Chris Haight and John Hamilton formed ZOOM in 1976, inspired by such pre-punk touchstones as the Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, Bowie and Sparks. The band quickly set to gigging locally, but were soon caught up in the punk scene that exploded to life around them. An obscure but seminal 1976 45 -- arguably Toronto's first punk record-- was their sole release before the band dissolved as Haight joined the Viletones and Hamilton began drumming for the Diodes. Despite their duties in two of Canada's leading punk bands, however, the pair didn't want great songs like "Schoolgirl Hitch Hiker", "My Baby's Got No Brains" and "They Only Come Out At Night" to go undocumented, so they entered the studio to get this stuff on tape. Produced by Bob Segarini and BB Gabor, and with musical contributions from members of The Ugly, The B-Girls and The Curse, the session captured a pretty special time in Toronto music history. It seems especially poignant that it would then remain unheard for decades. In 2014, Hamilton, who had gone on to an illustrious career of his own but had never entirely forgotten Zoom, located the tapes and had them professionally baked and restored. A trove of photographs, flyers and graphics was similarly uncovered, and now Ugly Pop is very pleased to announce a 13-track LP due for release in early 2016. Superb pressing with full insert featuring extensive new liner notes and unseen pictures, and this one won't be staying in print.

Our take: Ugly Pop Records delivers another excellent retrospective release, this time from Ontario's short-lived Zoom. Zoom did manage to release a single during their brief run, which slightly presaged the development of the Toronto punk scene proper (and the key members would go on to join, respectively, the Diodes and the Viletones, probably the two most well-remembered bands from the era), but these recordings are largely from after the band broke up. Apparently the members still had a fondness for the material, so they'd book studio time sporadically over the next couple of years in order to get the songs on tape. Sonically, the material collected here is definitely on the poppier edge of proto-punk. Rather than the heavier Detroit influences that define much of what we think of as "proto-punk" today, I'd guess that Zoom's main influences, judging by the sound they achieve here, are things like Bowie, Big Star's first couple records (the vocals here sound quite a lot like Alex Chilton in places), the Velvet Underground's Loaded, Lou Reed's Transformer... poppy glam-rock, basically. While Zoom weren't the songwriters the aforementioned artists were and these recordings are definitely demo-quality, those who like the more rocking end of the pop music of the early to mid 70s will definitely enjoy these recordings, and as is always the case with Ugly Pop you get lots of archival photos, detailed information and liner notes that place everything in its proper historical context.
Tags: '77&KBD 65804 70s canada melodic proto-punk punk reissues yoobl