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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Zappacosta - 1984 Zappacosta
Zappacosta - 1984 Zappacosta

ARTIST: Zappacosta
ALBUM: Zappacosta
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12296
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 2003, EMI Canada, 72435-24702-2


LINEUP: Alfie Zappacosta - vocals, guitars * Paul Delaney - drums * Steve Jensen - guitars * Gerald O'Brien - keyboards * Mitch Starkman - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Passion * 02 I'll Give It A Go * 03 We Should Be Lovers * 04 It's All Been Done Before * 05 Spread Myself Too Thin * 06 Runaround * 07 Can't Let Go * 08 Start Again * 09 Can Your Hear Me * 10 Katie's Eyes

WEBLINKS: www.iamzappacosta.com

Although released under the 'Zappacosta' moniker it could be argued that unofficially this is the third album by Canadian band Surrender whose debut is reviewed elsewhere on this site. Originally in 1982 Capitol Records had reluctantly agreed to let them record a third album despite the lack of commercial success of their debut and the 'No Surrender' EP. According to the Canadian music encyclopedia 'the resulting album was considered an unmitigated disaster, was shelved and Surrender disbanded.' Zappacosta then began touting himself as a solo artist in earnest and eventually the album was given an overhaul, remixed and remastered by Dee Long then released as Zappacosta in 1984. This album included original members of Surrender - Steve Jensen and Paul Delaney. Well enough of the potted biography and onto the music! 'Sounds' legendary scribe Paul Suter described the album as 'Spandau Ballet gone HM.' An apt description considering the camp 'New Romantic' pose adopted by Zappacosta in the album photos. I'm not exactly sure what audience Capitol were trying to market this album to (probably Duran Duran fans judging by the wardrobe!). It's difficult for me to categorise the music on display here as Zappacosta did have an individual sound, although I guess the nearest reference point would be high tech AOR.

The Songs
If I'm being honest I personally don't tend to be a great fan of this approach to AOR as the results have a tendency to be rather bland. However thanks to the distinctive, rather melancholic vocals of Zappacosta himself and outstanding guitar work which gives the music it's edge, this album stands head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Opener 'Passion' is driven along by a pulsing bass line and Zappacosta's (im)passion(ed) vocals. Next up 'I'll Give It A Go' starts with some serious guitar riffing (in an AOR context of course!) and a memorable chorus. The following track 'We Should Be Lovers' displays Zappacosta's lighter touch. We then move onto the towering 'It's All Been Done Before' which is a bona fide AOR classic. It's a vast improvement on the rather lacklustre version displayed on the 'No Surrender' EP. Side one closer is the slow burning epic 'Spread Myself Too Thin' characterized by its lush orchestrated keyboard arrangements. Elsewhere on side two we have 'Runaround' which picks up the pace again nicely (yet another bad pun I know..), 'Can You Hear Me' with its searing guitar solo, and the more conventional AOR of album closer 'Katie's Eyes'.

In Summary
Zappacosta followed up this album with 'From A to Z' which, whilst still AOR, to my mind was a rather disappointing affair as it lacked the vitality which made the debut so special. As you probably already know Zappacosta is still writing and performing music, however sadly his AOR days are long since departed. Thus it would appear that this sole album remains a testament to his finest hour. As a footnote, I believe this album is available on CD although fortunately, unlike some of the other 'glory days' albums already reviewed, it is relatively easy to track down. It therefore only remains for me to say 'What are you waiting for?

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Zappacosta 
#1 | Jez on June 13 2008 10:32:29
Another big time Jez favourite this one. The trouble I've had trying to get this on cd. Hi tech Canadian a.o.r with not a bad track in sight, top production, top playing, and generally top everything. Alfie is a complete star on this one. The follow up album A-Z was top notch as well but not yet released on CD as far as I know. Most of the songs from both albums can be found on the 'Over 60 Minutes With...' compilation.
#2 | george_the_jack on May 10 2009 13:14:49
This is a pure AOR milestone! Agree with all the above.
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