1987 brought it’s fair share of bands onto the scene, most were copy-cats of an already exploding L.A. scene. One band, in my opinion, stood out above the rest with their release “Bop City” that was perhaps way ahead of it’s time with rap-influenced verses that were catchier than anything else out there. “Bop City” also broke the rules a little by seemingly having two guys singing lead. When you listened to the rest of the album, it wasn’t quite as creative as “Bop City”, but was actually better in some respects.
Zinny J San was the frontman on this record and left before their next release to disappear into the world of “where are they now”. Well, I’d like to make an announcement about Zinny J… “Here he is!”.
As his band mates went on to record the successful “Second Coming” in the late 80’s and later turn into an Industrial project, Zinny J remained on the sidelines, at least here in the states. Thankfully this story has a happy ending! Zinny J has made his return on Fastlane Records with “City Boy Blues”, a collection of groove-laden rockers that capture the bands glory day as well as updating the sound for today’s standards.
You get a good taste of what the album is about right off the bat. The title track “City Boy Blues” has a guitar sound that’s somewhere between Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots. Zinny J’s vocal style has traces of punk rock that give the music an edge that should appeal to the younger generation. In other words, he’s not overly polished and relies more on his raw abilities and natural talent. He has a great rock n’ roll mind and it shows throughout the album.
There’s a good variety and pace on the album. Most of it works well for me, even if I have my definite favs like “City Boy Blues” and “Point Of No Return”. “Grin And Bare It” and “Stand Up For Your Right” have a think bass-heavy groove that would go down nice with a shot of whiskey and a Marlboro. He shows a little softer side with “Reach For The Sky” that works as a ballad without getting to sappy.
“Hollywood” and “Lost Generation” sound the most like the old Shotgun material. Both songs are solid rockers with sassy choruses and that L.A. edge.j
Overall, Zinny J keeps the spirit of the 80’s alive while bringing it into the new millenium. He’s not reinventing the wheel, but he’s not fucking it up either like so many bands have! If you like guitar rock you WILL find something on the album. I have no idea how realistic a Shotgun Messiah reunion would ever be, but in my opinion, we don’t need one if Zinny J keep on his latest road.