In the Grip
"In The Grip" is Frank Zoda's 13-song self-produced debut, a charming and fast-paced "Power Pop" fueled journey with nods to the Pop / Rock genres from which he draws his influences. "I don't think the influence Paul McCartney has been on me as a bass player and songwriter will be a big secret to anyone listening," says Zoda, "but I love all kinds of music. If you delve a little bit deeper you'll hear my affection for popular rock music from the 50s right through today." He doesn't have the most versatile singing voice you've ever heard, isn't the most proficient instrumentalist and didn't Polish the production to a glossy finish like a lot of today's production-line CDs. But that's all part of "In The Grip's" charm. "There was a point after I had finished recording all the tracks when I was sitting at the computer and thought, 'OK, time to make everything perfect.' I could have done myself a lot of technological favors vocally and instrumentally, but I decided against it. I kind of like that it's a little raw. The sound is a little retro and loose, but that's the way I hear the songs in my head anyway." The title "In The Grip" references The Grip, a Mercer County New Jersey band Zoda played with that occasionally regroups for special occasions. Zoda wrote many of the songs on the CD to perform with the band. "The feeling of a lot of these songs was really developed in a steamy basement. Whether it was a note here or a beat there or just an attitude and vibe, I can't think of a musician I've played these songs with who didn't move them forward in some way." From the lo-fi feel of "Between the Lines" to the guitar-heavy "Back Scratch" to the more lavish production of ballads like "The Way" and "Another Lonely Christmas," Zoda says there's something for pretty much any pop-rock fan to sink their teeth into. "Well, I don't metal rap," he jokes, "but I did try to bring all the various musical styles I love into these recordings in some way. I love the bare, raw three-chord 50s style of rock and roll and I love the Beatles' more melodic variation of it. I love the sort of open sound of Classic Rock and the tight almost intrusive sound of Seattle in the 90s. I love ballads that are layered and have a beat. I love pretty much any rock song with vocal harmonies. There's a little something here for everyone." If you enjoy time-spanning melodic power pop, "In The Grip" is worth a listen.