Zee "Identity" (1984) w/Richard Wright
Following up on my recent post about the two solo albums by Richard Wright, the late keyboardist of Pink Floyd, I also wanted to point out an obscure side project which Wright recorded while he was temporarily ousted from Pink Floyd. Zee was a duo consisting of Wright and Dave (De) Harris, the singer/guitarist who had fronted the new wave band Fashion on their 1982 album Fabrique (aka Height Of Fashion). Zee's only album was Identity, released in Europe in 1984.
On Identity, Wright and Harris co-produced (with Tim Palmer) and co-wrote all of the songs; both of them are credited with keyboards, percussion, and Fairlight synthesizer (which is used quite prominently). But Identity comes across as being mainly the project of Dave Harris, who wrote the lyrics, sang the lead vocals, and played guitar. Still, the music tends to have a bit more in common with Floyd’s art-rock than with the intense dance-pop of Fashion. Despite the mostly electronic instrumentation, most of the songs have an unexpected dryness, as Harris sings about the emotional barriers between lovers. One gets the impression that Zee may have been born out of a desire by Harris to leave the New Romanticism scene behind and enter the world of art-rock, but it was not an ideal musical direction for him, even with one of the genre’s luminaries as a collaborator. Harris does at least have a fairly distinctive voice, with a more masculine timbre than many of that era’s other new wave frontmen, and Wright’s presence gives Zee some credible sophistication.
For fans of Pink Floyd, “Voices” and “Seems We Were Dreaming” would hold the most interest, since those are the tracks where Wright seemed to have the most influence. Fans of Harris’ work with Fashion would be most interested in “By Touching” and “How Do You Do It”, since they come the closest to resembling that band’s edgy type of dance pop. Another noteworthy track is “Strange Rhythm”, whose rhythm is built on tribal beats. And the cassette version of the album contains a bonus track called “Eyes Of A Gypsy”, placed at the end of Side A after “Strange Rhythm”; it’s a dub reggae song that is more striking than most of the proper album tracks. (“Eyes Of A Gypsy” was also the B-side of “Confusion”, the album’s only single).
Although it wouldn’t be fair to say that Zee did not have their own identity, Identity ultimately fails to distinguish itself as anything more than a dated Floyd-related footnote.
Zee "Identity" (Harvest SHSP 2401011) 1984
3. Private Person
4. Strange Rhythm
5. Cuts Like A Diamond
6. By Touching
7. How Do You Do It
8. Seems We Were Dreaming
* Eyes Of A Gypsy – (cassette-only bonus track placed after “Strange Rhythm”; also the B-side of the “Confusion” single)