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Initially released last year as part of a pledge campaign, Arthur Brown's new studio album finally sees the light of day as a proper, official release.

Yes, we're talking about the man with the wild headpiece (a prop that must have earned him a few accidental head burns over th eyears) and the deep, theatrical voice, responsible for hits like 'Fire' and 'Nightmare', who never ceased touring altogether. His comeback couldn't have benefitted from better timing; the neo-psych craze the music world is currently experiencing makes Zim Zam Zim a must-hear for both old fans and new.

Opening with the steady, jungle-ish title-track (the shortest song of the album, since most tracks are over five minutes long), Zim Zam Zim eagerly promises a collection of songs that are both adequate to Arthur Brown's own style as well as cleverly crafted in order to adapt themselves to the 21st century. 'Want To Love' reaffirms this with a beautiful, retro-esque brass section, and Brown's flawless, ageless voice (although I haven't caught him live yet, his vibrato sounds as stunning as it did 50 years ago). 'Jungle Fever''s simple bluesy structure is enhanced by the million wildlife sounds that marry Brown's Tom Waits-like vocal track perfectly, while the slightly hypnotic reggae vibe of 'The Unknown' makes us think of a powerful, intense witchdoctor living in the basement of a Victorian house in New Orleans' French Quarter. Also present are delicate Tropicália undertones (which, when you think about it, make perfect sense, since he was probably a Os Mutantes' fan himself during the Brazilian band's golden era). And as 'Assun''s delicate guitar leads to an absolute heartbreaking violin section, we embrace Brown's storytelling as a child clings to her teddy bear - except that Arthur Brown's haunting voice turns him into both the father and the boogieman.

'Muscle of Love' shows yet again how brilliantly elastic Brown's vocals can be, ranging from a deep, devilish tone to smoothly sarcastic or belted falsettos. The album is not boringly homogenic, though: the tropical, mad dynamics of 'Junkyard King' contrast heavily with 'Light Your Light''s psych ballad nature, and the incredible range of colours present in Brown's voice greatly help these sometimes schizophrenic changes, preventing Zim Zam Zim from becoming too predictable. Oh, and if you had forgotten how absolutely fabulous Arthur Brown is at reading poetry (remember what he did with 'Vampire (Extract)'?), 'Touched By All' is here to remind you. The track's instrumental line is a perfect match to the weird-sounding, beautifully-read poem that appears just before the album's closer. 'The Formless Depths of Zim Zam Zim' (seriously, what on Earth is "Zim Zam Zim"?) comes as an unsettling piece of music, complete with dark, spell-like lyrics and primal, tribal-esque sounds that seem to come full circle with the LP's opener.

The God of Hell Fire may be 72-years-old, but he sure is sounding incredibly immortal in Zim Zam Zim: the album is not a trip down memory lane as many of you may think (actually, there are a lot of new bands out there sounding much more retro than this) - it is a natural, excellent evolution from one of the greatest performers alive. He keeps reinventing himself musically and this permanent growth, combined with his excellent songwriting and remarkable voice, is what makes Zim Zam Zim an absolute must-listen.

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