Twisted guitar riffs and psychedelic breakdowns establish a new tone right from explorative opener “Timing” all the way through to the echoing keys, glittering tones and fuzzy guitars of the conclusive title track – the name of which is only a hint of the local references that embed Queensway Tunnel within not only Merseryside culture but also specific fragments of the young singer-songwriter’s personal experiences, many of which are intimately explored here.
Scrapping any pretence of an ever-happy party girl image, it is clear that substantial and deep-rooted pain is vividly channelled into various moments on the record; be it a startling but astute desire to escape humanity underscored by bold brass (“The Van Is Evil”) or a slow, pessimistic comprehension of the terrifyingly relentless passage of time (“Toaster”), these tunes delve into far more expansive woes than simple relationship tales – although “Endlessly Yours” gives romance fans their sure fix too.
Despite the fact that an infatuation with identity, existence and progress may excessively linger on melancholy, self-empowerment seeps through the soundscapes of tunes like “My Old Life”, which proves that acceptance and growth can be as rewarding as they are difficult. Serving as a vehicle to exhibit Zuzu’s vocal capabilities, these passionate moments really do shine through with the same melodic appeal listeners have come to expect.
Distorted and deliberately imprecise instrumentation builds a fresh style for Zuzu, with raw strings, refreshing synths and satisfying percussion rippling through sonic environments that inflate with tension and dip back into sadness too. Not simply adding to past work but almost wholly reinventing it, it’s clear that much time and energy has been spent forging a brave new path forward, even if this first step is unsettled. Spotting the artist you’ve come to know within this record appears difficult at first, but the insightful storytelling is as heartfelt as ever and this defining moment is being markedly utilised to cement an alternative, more complex identity.