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ZPB "unstained" 9-18-99
Phoenix, Arizona CD Review
By HotBands Writer Lee Tarver


It's not often that you come across a band of three brothers (sans Hanson, who barely qualifies as a band) who manufacture intelligent music that displays fresh nuances with each repeated listening.

Such is the case with ZPB (formerly zackphillipsband), a musical triumvirate of male siblings plus one from Glendale, Arizona, who officially formed after being noticed by former local radio station program director and now manager, John Clay. Clay encouraged eldest brother, singer-guitarist Zack, and his brothers, guitarist Nathan and bassist Ben (both of whom provide backing vocals as well), to unite with drummer friend Randy Stowe as zackphillipsband.

On their self-produced debut effort, "unstained," Zack and the gang create a stylish sound which is immediately demonstrated in the opening track, "Pray Her Dead," a haunting rocker that grabs your attention with its gut-wrenching lyrics, stylish guitar hooks and heavy backbeat drumming. Many of the corresponding tunes, including "Rubicon," "Age D'or," and "Building Screams" purvey similar astounding power, while slower songs like "Words At All," "Downside Days" and "Isabelle" reveal a heartfelt outpouring of emotions amid the Phillips boys' fluid vocals and soothing harmonies.

"Green," which could be identified as the CD's single as it is the most accessible alternative radio cut, is a beautifully introspective ode to that universal search for meaning. It was also a standout track on the locally released "Leah's Local Zone Take One," a collection of live renditions of songs by bands from the Phoenix area.

Throughout "unstained," that certain southwestern sound germane to now-defunct bands like The Gin Blossoms and The Refreshments can be felt, while the likeness to such contemporary artists as Live and Toad the Wet Sprocket can be seen as well. The band themselves sight musical masterminds U2 and The Police among their influences.

Discover more about ZPB, including their touring schedule and even their favorite websites, at http://www.zpb.com