Rehab, Sobriety, and Politics Shape Escape From The Zoo's New Album Countin' Cards
4.6 out of 5 stars
Escape From The Zoo put out their new album Countin’ Cards amidst some very big changes for the band as a whole both with the pandemic and with a bout with rehab for the lead singers - the married couple of Jesse and Veronica Sendejas.
The music on the album is absolutely upbeat and makes you want to dance. The subject matter is a massive counter to that though as it has some heavy lyrical content.
(Jesse) Sendejas mentioned to Fat Wreck Chords that a conversation with his father when he was 14 stuck with him, “He told me that his favorite songs are ones that are maybe a little bit depressing lyrically, but which are juxtaposed with a really upbeat, lighthearted musical track.”
This is a great thing to remember when jumping into the new album, because there are some pretty interesting lyrical songs on here - not something that always accompanies a punk album.
By far my favorite song on the album is “Sentient Beer” which faces the big question for any recovering addict:
When your life has to make a change for the better, you have to face some really hard facts, and your self-esteem and character can come into question. I know as I have close family and friends who have gone through the process themselves.
“12 Rounds” is another reflection on the life that Sendejas leaves behind by turning to a life of sobriety.
Overall, this entire album is good from start to finish, and it is not just about getting sober. Nor is the message that YOU should get sober either.
This is a self-inflection album, BUT there are also songs like “Draft Dodgers” that focus on the socio-political environment of the U.S., and how the military and politicians are a huge problem with the way our country works.
The Houston-band was signed to Fat Wreck Chords for this album, and it’s no wonder why they got their attention. Sendejas and crew have a bit of an early NOFX, Goldfinger and Mad Caddies style that will make sure you have a good time while listening to the album.
At points, the singing gets rough (intentionally), but overall, the album is really good. It’s 9 solid songs of punk rock anthems that go by too fast and leave you wanting more - which is the true sign of a good album and when a band should leave the album alone. If they threw other songs on here that didn’t measure up, it may well bring the overall quality down.
Great album, and solid comeback for the group as they haven’t released a full-length LP in about 5 years.