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No. 2, “Wasted,” an ode to/condemnation of the drinking life—country style. Following a handful of “ooh-la-la”s sung over a boogie-woogie
piano figure that could have been cribbed from Exile on Main St., singer-guitarist Zach Van Hoozer dives into a Keef-friendly thesis: “We’re all so young and tasteless/Walking around lost and faithless/And wasted all the time.” The chorus hints that intoxication brings enlightenment—“And as sure as the sunrise/You’ll see it through my eyes,” he sings —but then devolves into further “ooh-la-la”ning.
“It’s a good old-fashioned party hymn,” says Van Hoozer, a 23-year-old Arlington resident who writes Zulu Pearls’ material and performs with a rotating cast of collaborators. “It’s not a negative view of this lifestyle…but a cynical take on what I do in my free time.” He may be conflicted about alcohol, but he’s unapologetic about the “oldies vibe” of “Wasted,” which appears on an album dominated by more Interpol-ish material. “I feel like that’s more me sticking out,” he says.
To make ends meet, Van Hoozer once worked as a substitute teacher in the Arlington Public Schools, where even ostensibly punk-friendly skaters spurned his indie-elder perspective. “I felt out of touch,” Van Hoozer says of his attempts to bond with obnoxious Millennials. “I tried to identify with them, but they were assholes to me.” Van Hoozer does have an escape hatch, though: He studied German at Virginia Commonwealth University, and got his degree last May. “If I wasn’t doing music, I would disappear to Germany,” he says. —Justin Moyer
Zulu Pearls play the Rock & Roll Hotel on Tuesday, July 24.