Z STAR: Masochists and Martyrs (Label: Muthastar)

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Z STAR: Masochists and Martyrs

Z Star is a London musician. ‘Masochists And Martyrs’ is her second album and it’s on the indie Muthastar label. Ms Star was previously signed to Virgin and A&M but found herself hemmed in with too many restrictions; now, with the brakes off , she can focus on making music her own way and on the 12 tracker you’ll hear her very idiosyncratic sound . The album draws on all kinds of sources and ends up sounding like none of them. In places it’s very rocky (try ‘Tension’) elsewhere, it’s much more gentle (‘Trouble Woman’ for instance), while on ‘Venus Blues’ her Trinidad roots shine through. Other cuts like ‘What’s Wrong With Me’ are looser and some cuts are maybe too frantic for comfort – ‘No Love Lost’, for instance, is a headstrong, headlong drive. What holds the diversity together is Z Star’s unusual vocal delivery – somewhere between Nina Simone and Joan Armatrading, there’s also hints of Prince and Jimi Hendrix thrown into to confuse things. This enigmatic cocktail all comes together at its best on the opener ‘Tree Of Life’. It rides in on a sweet, rhythmic guitar and the build in the melody matches the growth metaphor of the lyric – blossoming, eventually, into a wonderfully sweet bridge. It’s worth a listen for those who like their music challenging, quirky and outside normal comfort zones… another one, this for those with adventurous ears.
(BB) 3/5