Say what you want about Zac Brown, but you’ve got to give it to him: The man has guts.
After spending the better part of a decade building a reputation as a hard-hitting country music band with a decidedly acoustic sound, the Zac Brown Band took a hard left turn and released Jekyll + Hyde, an eclectic record encompassing country, rock, pop, and even EDM influences. Despite getting ripped in some country music circles, Zac Brown has decided to turn even harder in this direction, announcing a side project called Sir Rosevelt that blends big-band swing and thumping electronic beats into the strangest cross-genre concoction since Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. What’s even stranger is that on the project’s leadoff track “Sunday Finest,” Zac and company kinda-sorta pulled it off.
The strength of this track is its production, a blend of Roaring Twenties-era horns and piano, acoustic guitars, and synthetic backing beats that fit together way better than they have a right to. The song slowly builds momentum and energy, and eventually explodes into a horn-filled crescendo on the chorus that really inspires you to get out on the floor and break out your best moves.
Lyrically, the song is…well, the song is more about the beat than the words, and it’s a good thing, because the lyrics are repetitive and unimpactful. (The groundhog references are particularly nonsensical.) This song is meant to be blasted at full volume at neon-lit nightclubs where the patrons are too drunk to care what the words are anyway. Zac himself delivers an decent vocal performance, but doesn’t bring anything unique or memorable to the track. (He does, however, deserve credit for pulling off a Steven Tyler-esque scream near the end that neither of the male singers I’ve previously reviewed would have been able to execute.)
Overall, I like this song more a fair bit more than I thought I would. It’s not perfect, but Zac Brown sounds a lot more at home making this sort of music than other county-crossover wannabes do (*cough* Luke Bryan *cough*).
Rating: 7/10. If you’re into this sort of genre-bending, or if you enjoyed “Beautiful Drug,” I’d encourage you to check it out. If you’re a staunch old-school Zac Brown Band partisan, however, I recommend holding off until the next official ZBB album drops (likely sometime in 2017).