102.9 WMGK, Philadelphia's classic rock station, is giving away free tickets to the southern rock power trio ZZ Top this week. The band will be coming back to the area with their May 11 concert in Ovation Hall at Atlantic City. They are touring in support of their fifteenth studio album La Futura, their first in nine years, which was released on September 11, 2012. Billy Gibbons said in a press release: “We wanted to recall the directness of our early stuff but not turn our backs on contemporary technology. The result of this melting of the past and the present is, of course, La Futura." Let's take a closer look at the record.
The album starts with a cover/adaption of DJ DMD's "25 Lighters," now retitled as "I Gotsta Get Paid." Obviously, it doesn't sound like hip-hop, but a slow, chill groove that allows Gibbons' biting guitar to be front and center. Often compared to the hit "Tush," "Chartreuse" uses more guitar distortion than usual, but it is still a great boogie. It's also, unfortunately, the shortest song on the record. With its starts and stops, "Consumption" almost sounds like it doesn't want get going, but thankfully it does roar to life with guitar comps. A typical ZZ Top blues ballad, "Over You" is not quite at the level of "Rough Boy," but it does show the guys at a softer side.
James Harman lends his harmonica to "Heartache in Blue," another slow 12-bar that sounds comfortably familiar. The boys stay relaxed with "I Don't Wanna Lose, Lose You," that, if it was more perfect, could have been used for Eliminator. Thankfully, it sounds just fine rough around the edges. Drawing inspiration from 80s arena rock, "Flyin' High" shows the band leaving the comforts of Texas rock to the California pop, but the flying chorus doesn't hurt anything.
The band gets dark in "It's So Easy Mañana," which was originally written by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch. The quick coda is a little surprising, but in a very good way. There are pretty unusual lyrics in "Big Shiny Nine," while fans have seen similarities between the new "Have a Little Mercy" and the old "Waitin' For The Bus."