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The Antelope

The Antelope

Zac Brown Band fails to finish what they started on new album

The Antelope Vol. 4


“The Owl” from Zac Brown Band is the group’s latest venture away from their back-porch country roots that propelled them to stardom. And unsurprisingly, for fans of the older sound who have kept up for the past few years, this effort fails to live up to that older brand.

The new Zac Brown Band album has some issues. The biggest, unfortunately, is Zac Brown. His vocals throughout the album, with minor exceptions on the actually tolerable tracks, fall flat as they deliver an array of generic country lyrics driven in a southern accent. Simultaneously, he tries to fit into the electro-pop soundscape that fills the album like pus in a painful zit.

“The Owl”
1 out of 5 Lopers

The grating vocals distract even more from the few fine pieces of instrumental work that are littered throughout the album seemingly only to throw longtime fans a bone. 

The track “Me and the Boys in the Band” exemplifies this issue the most. Through the track, fiddle, electric guitar, and piano weave in and out as they fill the space, undominated by Brown’s awful delivery of a stereotypical country anthem. It might have worked had it not been for the pop-inspired drum loops and trap fills. 

Rather than real drums and rhythm guitars like those that filled some of the band’s earlier work, this album leans heavily on electronic loops in the rhythmic sections. Almost every track suffers from the same generic set of pop country beats; the patronizing snapping and thudding of “bass drums” that sound as hollow as the meaning in most of the tracks. 

The album isn’t without its good moments. “Boys in the Band”, as mentioned earlier, has a fantastic instrumental section featuring a duel between the electric guitar and the fiddle that is reminiscent of the band’s older work. “Finish What We Started” starts strong with a nice duet between Zac Brown and Brandi Carlile, only for the song to take a sharp turn into another degenerate pop dumpster fire. Ironically, Brown and Carlile never actually finish what they started on this track. 

The only true stand out song on this album is the final piece, “Leaving Love Behind”. This track embodies the older sound that brought fans in droves to Zac’s Place, the bar where he started making music back in the early 2000s before getting discovered. Overall, this album lacks the down to earth feel of a Zac Brown venture and feels like a departure from back-porch country into commercial southern pop. 

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