Album Review: Zebrahead & Man With A Mission – Out Of Control EP

Given their status as de facto best mates – what with a number of tours, collaborations and general social media tomfoolery – it makes sense that California’s Zebrahead and Shibuya, Japan’s Man With A Mission would team up for a proper split release. The result of such a venture is ‘Out Of Control’, comprising of two songs from each band and one collaborative effort, and in showing exactly what it is that makes both of these bands tick, it does a fine job.

Of the two bands featured, Zebrahead’s tracks are definitely the strongest. They tend to veer away from their more pop-punk leanings on their two tracks, focusing more on rap-rock elements, but that’s hardly a bad thing. ‘Lockjaw’ is a galloping two-and-a-bit minutes of grade A rap-punk, while ‘Consider This My Resignation’ has an almost nu-metal bounce that’s more than a bit Hoobastank-ish in places (don’t panic, it is actually good though). Ali Tabatabaee’s rapping is a quickfire and compelling as ever, while Matty Lewis’s vocals soar to heights previously unexplored, especially on the latter track.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AM6v-N2ZRrk&w=100&h=420]

While they may be weaker in comparison, Man With A Mission’s tracks still manage to thrive in their own right. ‘Higher’ could easily be the theme song to an anime film – empowering and self-important with zipping synths and guitar solos – while ‘Database’ (the stronger of the two) makes use of a sort of industrial-rap-rock formula that may sound bizarre but actually really works. Where they fall down compared to Zebrahead is simply that there’s less memorability and true infectiousness. Other than that, they could easily fly on their own if featured on a solo release.

The only real disaster is the title track, a collaboration between both bands that’s incredibly messy and forgettable, with absolutely zero likability. Apart from that though, Zebrahead and Man With A Mission’s teaming up has made a solid EP that does both bands a definite amount of justice. It’s not essential by any means, and as an introduction to either band it’s probably best to go elsewhere, but it’s another interesting addition to the canon of two thoroughly unique bands.

3.5/5

‘Out Of Control’ by Zebrahead & Man With A Mission is released on 21st August on Rude Records.

Zebrahead links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Man With A Mission links: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Tumblr

Words by Luke Nuttall(@nuttall_luke)

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