1) Rescue the World (ft. Daryl Pipebomb)
2) My Apology (ft. Jem Manuel)
3) Sleepless Nights (ft. Joey Dizon)
4) This is the End (ft. Noodle Perez)
5) Rollercoaster Ride (ft. Jan Domino)
6) A New Start (ft. Gabby Alipe)
7) Something’s Always Wrong (ft. King Spade)
8) At The Hospital (ft. Chris Padilla)
9) Reality (ft. Paolo Seen & Joe Calixto)
10) Falling Apart (ft. Jomal & Reyg Linao)
11) A Thousand Reasons (ft. Steve Badiola)
12) Today (ft. Louis George Tabaña)
13) No Division (ft. Henry Allen & Russell Manalolo)
14) The Last Song (ft. Iping Amores & Paolo Seen)
Re-recording 14 songs from his back catalogue and reworking them for an acoustic arrangement, jam-packed Isolation Project shows the more mellow side of Filipino punk rocker Lorenzo Nuñez (aka Zero 4 Hero). His vocals feature those raw yet tuneful affectations that wouldn’t be amiss at the centre of any pop punk outfit, but pair them with crisp acoustic guitars and you have an emotionally-charged, soul-searching journey inspired by the pandemic woes.
Rescue the World opens with a sticky three-note melody, Lorenzo’s classic all-American rocker vocal cadence instantly aligning Zero 4 Hero with pop punk heavyweights such as Billie Joe Armstrong. No doubt he draws inspiration from Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends to achieve this effect, complete with a double-whammy of winding acoustic guitars and high-cresting choruses.
My Apology and Sleepless Nights feature beautiful stereo guitars. Pleasant harmonies flow together silkily, making for incredibly polished sounds which are radio-ready off the cuff.
Acoustic emo at its prime, This is the End offers shades of bittersweetness. The male/female vocals complement each other well, adding conversational characteristics to the lyrics’ narrative. Fans of A Day To Remember’s If It Means A Lot To You will find something compelling here.
Rollercoaster Ride shakes up the standard operating procedure with its beachy, staccato reggae rhythms. Rap vocals overlay warm acoustic guitars- or perhaps ukuleles?- as light electronic accents, backing vocals, and a touch of bass add texture and depth. With a simple, memorable chorus which feels socially apropos (“Life is like a rollercoaster ride”), Zero 4 Hero breathe joy into the mundane.
A New Start is a catchy tune which works beautifully on the acoustic guitar, the transposition allowing for dynamic contrasts between sound and silence which are unique to the instrument.
Its lullaby purity jars against Something’s Always Wrong, a toe-tappable reggae funk track decked throughout with bass, electric guitar, and maracas. King Spade chimes in with some reggae rap vocals, fleshing out the seaside-chill vibe.
Acoustic duet At The Hospital feels uniquely theatrical at points, with an ambulance siren blaring at the start and finish. More shades of Green Day circa American Idiot (2005) can be gleaned, from the choral vocals to darker themes of endemic decay and sickness.
Reality is a piano-accented punch straight in the heart. It feels evocative of the early 00s alt emo scene, with a chorus hook so deeply satisfying that you’ll be hitting the replay button obsessively for hours.
Who doesn’t love a good anti-lovesong? Falling Apart, with its bright strings and stereo acoustics, achieves this effortlessly. Again employing a compelling juxtaposition between male and female vocals, the track is a defiant celebration of independence – even when you feel like everything is crumbling around you.
A Thousand Reasons is riddled with coalescent harmonies, an atmospheric and dreamlike musical interlude which ends a little bit abruptly compared to the tight structuring of previous tracks. This stumble is quickly forgiven thanks to Today, a slick and sweet electric guitar-based track whose catchy vocal hook again pulls focus.
If there is a song on the album which truly encapsulates the post-pandemic dream, No Division is that song. Zeroing in on teamwork, community, and togetherness, the track is a topical reminder of humanity’s power to succeed when no man is an island.
Eponymous curtain call The Last Song ties the album together with a true sense of plenary. The use of layered harmonies creates smooth rounds, a beautiful aesthetic choice which cements Zero 4 Hero’s mission to deliver refined punk urgency packaged up in clean acoustic melodies.
Stream Zero 4 Hero’s Isolation Project now on Apple Music and Spotify!
– Jasmine Gould-Wilson