TaigaMusic • CD
Dark Pop • Electronics
18/10/2014, Benny CALUWE
Nika Roza Danilova is an American singer with some Russian ancestors. Her voice is often compared to the one from Florence Welch. Zola Jesus’ new album is called Taiga: the Russian name for the boreal forest. She herself grew up in a desolate Wisconsin-forest. To write this record she left her apartment in LA and moved back to that rural region.
The title track Taiga opens the album with nervous drumbeats, sounding like ethereal drum and bass. The second track is the album’s lead single Dangerous Days. It has a catchy chorus, although singing about dark and dangerous days is exactly what this album lacks in my opinion. The cold electro and the industrial elements from the early days are gone. Taiga sounds more poppy and Nika’s voice is more prominent. Zola Jesus worked in a rather original way. She first wrote her songs a capella and later added the music. This results in a more intense and emotional vocal performance. In the past she used to do that quite different (first the soundscapes, then the vocals).
Hunger is another catchy a pop song. Since I read that Niki admires Alicia Keys and Rihanna, I can’t help that crossing my mind when hearing Go (blank sea).
Luckily the second half of the album sounds gloomier. Lawless, Long Way Down and Hollow are dramatic songs, built on an electronic basis with brass instruments on top of it. The album ends in an epic way with It’s not over. The song is worked out with nice details that you only hear after listening a few times. Although Zola Jesus proves her craftsmanship in the songs that are mentioned before, the rest of the album isn’t so convincing though.
For me Taiga hasn’t got this much to do with dark wave. Zola Jesus became “soft-gothic” pop music, like Bat For Lashes but then electronic. In the past Zola Jesus wasn’t always that easy-listening, but it sure was interesting. As stated before: just not dark and dangerous enough!
• Borgia Season 3
GOSPEL • Disasters Running Wild
JOHNNY MARR • Playland
DUNCAN REID AND THE BIG HEADS • C'est La Vie
DAVID LAMBERT • Je Suis A Toi (FilmFest Ghent 2014)
AUDREY ESTROUGO • Une histoire banale (FilmFest Ghent 2014)
LIV KRISTINE • Vervain
LAMB • Backspace Unwind
SUDABEH MORTEZAI • Macondo (FilmFest Ghent 2014)
MARCO BELLOCCHIO • Bella Addormentata (FilmFest Ghent 2014)
Other reviews from ZOLA JESUS
ZOLA JESUS • Conatus
Same combination of genres: DARK POP + ELECTRONICS
SCANNER & ANNI HOGAN • Scanni
DISKONNEKTED • Hotel Existence
JOHN FOXX AND THE MATHS • The Shape Of Things
JOHN FOXX AND THE MATHS • Concert in Aarschot on 25th October 2012
RAOUL SINIER • Guilty Cloaks
Same genre: DARK POP
THIS ETERNAL DECAY • Silence
THIRD REALM • The Art of Despair
AMY STUDT • Happiest Girl in The Universe
VARIOUS ARTISTS • DARKSIDE OF THE CON III
DEZ MONA • Book Of Many
BLUTENGEL • Black
GLAARE • To Deaf and Day
PSYCHE • Youth Of Tomorrow (12'')
BLUTENGEL • Leitbild
TEN AFTER DAWN • Best Of Both Words
Same genre: ELECTRONICS
VARIOUS ARTISTS • PERIHELION 2134
GHOSTING • The Flanders EP
THE BLACKHEART ORCHESTRA • Mesmeranto
STATIQBLOOM • Asphyxia
MECHANIMAL • White Flag Single
PAS MUSIQUE • The Phoenix
RADIOAKTIVISTS • Radioakt One
METROLAND • Memorabilia & Memorabilia The Remixes
YOU, VICIOUS! • You, Vicious!
HATCHLING • Alpha