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ZEEBEE
Priorities

AK025
Angelika Köhlermann / Broken Silence 2006
13 Tracks. 53mins21secs

Two years after releasing her first album, German-born quirky songstress Zeebee returns with another slice of twisted electro-pop. Now living in Austria, Zeebee first appeared in 2003 with her debut EP, Tender, which was followed a few month later by Chemistry, an album on which she explored the outer limits of pop music with collaborator Gherhard Potuznik. The ten songs presented on that represented only a fraction of Zeebee’s impressive collection of tracks and collaborations accumulated during the previous three years on MP3.com, yet it helped establishing her as a recording artist with enough drive and creative input to stand out from the mass.

With her faux air of Billie Holiday on helium, her resolutely oblique approach and flair for catchy melodies, she rapidly gained a devoted following, and the arrival of her sophomore effort is likely to help her reach a far wider audience. Partly recorded once again with Potuznik, this album also continues on Zeebee’s desire to interact with other musicians. Taking their turn behind the desk are Jeffry Math, Trishes, Sub City, Kayleph or Kevin Martin, best known as The Bug. Even more so than Chemistry, Priorities spans a wide array of genres, ranging from the jazz-infused opener, Zeebee Case, and the wonderfully ethereal Sticks to the abrasive and deliciously bonkers cover of Ella Fitzgerald’s A Tisket A Tasket or the playful electro-punk of Cartoonboom. The unifying force behind all these is Zeebee’s acidulated voice, which constantly remains almost unchanged throughout the various sonic landscapes crossed. From the sleazy bebop of Zeebee Case, which casts a delightful swinging sixties shadow on the opening minutes of Priorities, to the urban flavours of Attempted Suicide, which concludes on a rather dark and ominous note, the voice remains well above the surface of the soundtracks showcased in the background. Zeebee might be relying on collaborators to adorn her pop songs, but she is ultimately the star of the show, and no one dare contesting.

Priority is perhaps the most accessible and radio-friendly moment of the whole album, but the true gems here are to be found elsewhere. Sweetness, Sticks, Jeff’s Disco or My Sunny Friend are rather more sophisticated and delicate pieces, each evolving on a slightly different level yet demonstrating a common emotional affectation. Elsewhere the tone becomes harsher and bulkier. The three Bug-produced tracks, A Tisket A Tasket, Cards & Signs and Attempted Suicide add a layer of urban grit, while Cartoonboom sounds like Kids In America played by Carter USM. Sunday Morning proves a rather haunting sexy number, and Zeebee’s ice-cold interpretation of the Peggy Lee classic Fever actually works rather well in the context of this album.

While Chemistry attempted to collect the result of years of work and felt slightly disjointed in parts, Priorities feels more coherent, mature and inspired. Here, Zeebee exults in confidence and constantly gets the best out of her collaborators. This is pop music as it should be enjoyed by all.

4.7/5

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TRACKLIST

Zeebee Case
Priority
Sweetness
A Tisket A Tasket
Sticks
Sunday Morning
Jeff´s Disco
Cards And Signs
Sunny Friend
Fever
Cartoonboom
Free Now
Attempted Suicide

ZEEBEE Discography

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO ZEEBEE
Zeebee Music
Angelika Koehlermann

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