Zola Jesus – Conatus Album Review

zola jesus conatus reviewThe yardstick I (perhaps harshly) use when listening to female solo artists is “Would Kate Bush listen to this?”.

It nags in the back of my head, tapping on my brain whenever I give that first play to the likes of Lykke Li, Lana Del Rey, M.I.A and right at this moment Zola Jesus.

Last years Stridulum was rightly thrown in to the gothic pop genre and there is much the same in Conatus from the icy Nika Roza Danilova.

But there is a different depth, another mode to the eleven tracks. This is all down to the instrumental strength which at times eclipsed Nika’s vocals.

Ixode would have been best left as an instrumental piece; it feels self-indulgent for the moaning to take place over the orchestra and a little pointless. However, it is the only weak point in the album.

Avalanche lends shades of Fleetwood Mac. It follows that same constant march of drumbeats that dominates Tusk. In this track it sets the tone for the album perfectly.

Vessel and Shivers experiment with synths that conjure images of desolate factories, shades of grey, chains and rusting machinery. Stripped down Skin and Lick The Palm Of The Burning Handshakes expose raw emotion, sad ballads.

I can’t help but feel had Florence Welch not been marketed to be so Radio 1 friendly we may have seen her produce tracks like Seekir and In Your Nature. Epic strings that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tim Burton film that suddenly build to an anthem pop beat “And now the end becomes us again, we never let it end.” They are intelligent pop songs with a sense of occasion that I imagine will be well received live, soaring to a climax.

Overall Conatus is part gothic nightmare, part creative pop. This album sounds like a storm in the blackest, darkest winter night.

Kate Bush would give this a listen, in that I am certain. It’s intelligent, artistic, well crafted and feels like a more complete album than it’s predecessor.

Flush the Fashion

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically, everything this site is about.