Zeebee: Tender

Tender serves as an appealing appetizer to Chemistry, Austria native Zeebee's full-length on the Angelika Koehlermann label. The twenty-three minute 12 inch includes five lush tracks, three of which re-appear on the album (albeit two in remixed form by Jox). They offer a good sampling of Zeebee's range, which is abetted in no small part by her collaborators Jox, Jeffrey Math, Loyal & Royal, Uez Racing Division, and Gerhard Potuznik. Yet whatever the stylistic contrasts, the unifying element is undoubtedly her captivating voice which, admittedly, is a bit of an acquired taste, initially jarring given its idiosyncratic little-girl qualities. But, with repeated exposure, one warms to its purring sound until it seems tailor-made for the dramatic trip-hop of the haunting “Chemistry” and the sultry electropop of “Hold Me Tight.” Its sexier side is drawn out on “Insult,” synth-driven pounding techno, and the moody “Lost and Found,” but its depths are most fully plumbed on the incredible torch epic “Tender.” Arguably the strongest of the tracks here, the deep strings, organ, and jazzy drum brushes perfectly complement her wrenched, bluesy delivery. Aside from the memorable vocal sound, it's the quality of the songs which first and foremost attests to the impact of Zeebee's music.

March 2004