New album: Zatopeks || Loitering & Sauntering

Literate pop-punks prove staying power on first new album in a decade

Upon pressing play on the new Zatopeks LP, I immediately dove into the liner notes penned by Lookout! Records founder Larry Livermore. My favorite part is how he recalls an encounter with a hyperactive teenager in late ’90s London who claimed he would start a Lookout!-style pop punk band. Livermore’s cynical reply: “I admire your ambition, but the kind of music you’re talking about had its heyday years ago.”

That teenager was Zatopeks frontman Will DeNiro, who turned his words into action. A quarter-century later, his band isn’t just still here; they’re thriving. Just listen to the new Loitering & Sauntering LP. While a casual listener might echo Dr. Frank’s Dumb Little Band quip, Zatopeks pair their catchy tunes with seriously smart, witty writing. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a pop punk band start a song with lines like: “Amidst the Commie propaganda and the Red scare hysteria, A cold wind whistles in from Siberia” (from Ghosts In The System). This band reads books and wants you to know it, smuggling SAT vocabulary, political analysis, and literary references into your unsuspecting eardrums – all set to a three-chord backdrop.

The juxtaposition of smart words over poppy, angsty punk tunes works marvelously on Loitering & Sauntering. Imagine the Undertones and Buzzcocks locked in a library, subsisting on a diet of Lookout! Records, and you’re getting close.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I haven’t really given Zatopeks an honest listen before – don’t ask, it happens. This record not only changes that but makes me want to binge-listen their entire discography. Like Larry Livermore states in the liner notes, sometimes it’s good to find out you’ve been wrong.

Loitering & Sauntering is streaming everywhere now. LP & CD expected to come out a couple of days later at Stardumb Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Stardumb

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