Conatus


Zola Jesus


Amoeba Review

10/04/2011

For those who were expecting Zola Jesus aka Nika Roza Danilova to turn around from last year’s winning Stridulum II with an album of glossy pop, think again. Sure, Conatus is her most accessible statement yet, but the album is still teaming with the experimental electronic music and ethereal vocals on which she built her name, only with slightly more of an emphasis on the electro balladry she exhibited so well on Stridulum’s “Night” and “Lightstick.” “Hikikomori” begins with throbbing synths and Danilovato’s yearning vocals intoning “blisters on my hands,” underpinned by subtle strings. On this track and several others on Conatus, you can hear the effort Danilovato has put into carefully considering the album’s every movement, building songs gradually and deliberately, pulling at the heartstrings but always from afar, sometimes coming through clearly, sometimes unintelligible in a vocal styling reminiscent of Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. Her best songs manage to do it all at once, such as in the soaring “Seekir,” in which she aims for the gut (“Is there nothing left of the mess we made?” she asks in a moment that clears the sonic din to cut through) as well as the dance floor, although the result, with intertwining, ghostly backup vocals, is too complex to simply label a dance song. You sometimes long for more moments like that on Conatus (the epic choral build of “Lick The Palm Of The Burning Handshake” being another), but its balancing act of restraint and putting it all out there makes for intriguing listening that will keep fans happy and pull in plenty of new ones.



Track Listing



Disc 1 Titles
Artist
Length
File/Price
Buy
1.
Swords
Zola Jesus 01:03
2.
Avalanche
Zola Jesus 03:20
3.
Vessel
Zola Jesus 04:42
4.
Hikikomori
Zola Jesus 03:47
5.
Ixode
Zola Jesus 04:14
6.
Seekir
Zola Jesus 03:44
7.
In Your Nature
Zola Jesus 03:27
8.
Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake
Zola Jesus 04:27
9.
Shivers
Zola Jesus 02:54
10.
Skin
Zola Jesus 04:21
11.
Collapse
Zola Jesus 04:07

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