Legends of the pop-punk movement Zebrahead return not only with a new EP, but with a brand new member, too. Following the exit of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Matty Lewis, the band have regrouped, adding old friend Adrian Estrella to the fold, giving them a new lease of energy and heart.
Following an impressive Slam Dunk debut of the new lineup (as the festival’s self-proclaimed house band, where else of course), Zebrahead’s new 15 minute quick-fire EP ‘III’ signals a fresh start and a third wave for the band. If this EP is a precursor to the band’s next decade of adventure, then strap in because they’re planning on giving you a sugar rush like buzz from the start.
‘Lay Me to Rest’ has a chorus that will make it a staple for any live set going forward, acting as a new anthem (pun not intended) for anyone who’s grown through their youth and into adulthood with Zebrahead in their lives. The lead single is the perfect display of the band’s versatility and the new dimensions that Estrella is able to add to their previously formulaic sound. Estrella brings more depth vocally and a reinvigorated intensity than either of his predecessors, giving the band an exciting, modern touch, allowing for the exact kind of growth and maturity that they’ve been overdue for.
Not only that but veteran co-vocalist Ali Tabatabaee seems to have found a new groove, rapping sublimely alongside his new partner in crime; their individual strengths complement each other fantastically, making for a seamless transition from old to new.
Elsewhere on the EP, ‘A Long Way Down’ features a classic mid-song Dan Palmer guitar solo, alongside their trademark sticky sweet melodies and rap rock combos (that are here to stay, much to our relief), but it sounds more self-assured and daring than they have ever been before.
Dropping their less mature characteristics, rather than songs about getting drunk and passing out, the band go deeper on ‘Out of Time’ with the idea of living the life you want to lead before time runs out instead of meeting the expectations of others.
Never afraid to mix things up, ‘Homesick for Hope’ displays the band going full speed punk while ‘Russian Roulette is for Lovers’ offers an old school Zebrahead style metal and ska punk mashup, as Estrella screams in “I’m Not Your Saviour” firmly putting his own mark on the song.
Everything about ‘III’ tells you where Zebrahead are heading and it couldn’t be in a more perfect, pop punk filled direction with a new member breathing some fresh fire into the band, without wavering from their already beloved style. A true return to form for the MFZB.