Guitar rock focuses entirely on the electric guitar, with the instruments, and sometimes vocals, playing back-up to that iconic instrument. But, acoustic guitar music gets the moniker “acoustic” or “indie,” never rock. Why? If you’ve been in coffee houses, you’ll know why. The acoustic guitar plays well in quieter spaces, not needing an amplifier or other tools to create a song. But can it create rock music, as commonly understood?

ZZYZX Project is a duo and together create urgent acoustic guitar rock. Steering clear of the act and slow of indie music, their debut EP, Fear of Flying is thunderous and in your face. Like the groove-menace of “Shut the Door”, ZZYZX isn’t going to let you sit back and relax.

What hits you first is the vocals. The delivery alone hits with a level of experience that belies this band’s young age. Not only do they scream with rage, but they can also go slow, making their lead single, “Flying By Night,” and the whole EP, a dynamic listening experience.

If the fastest track here, “Hero” doesn’t convince you of my assertion, then it’s a lost cause. From the beginning riffs, the guitars alternate between plucking and strumming, creating a tension that almost invites dancing, or at least, hand clapping (note: link is a cover of the original). The guitar plays loudly, and it isn’t a post-production feat, either. Check out this live version of the track.

ZZYZX Project (pronounced “gee-jeeks”) shows that guitar rock doesn’t need to be plugged in. With just an acoustic six-guitar and a powerful set of vocal chords, ZZYZX Project is fantastic, and Fear of Flying as an EP, is proof that rock comes in all shapes and sizes, and in this case, out of nowhere.

ZZYZX Project on Facebook.
ZZYZX Project on Mnet.

Contributed to McRoth’s Residence with a focus on Korean indie and hip-hop music.