Zola Jesus – Stridulum II

Album Review by PJ Meiklem | 19 Aug 2010
  • Zola Jesus – Stridulum II
Album title: Stridulum II
Artist: Zola Jesus
Label: Souterrain Transmissions
Release date: 23 Aug

These are dark days we live in right enough – what with cuts, crashes, crises and the return of Skunk Anansie – but do we really have to add a Zola Jesus soundtrack to our miseries? Zola is the stage name of American singer Nika Roza Panilova and her music sounds as if someone has transformed the synthesiser from a booty-shaking squelchfest enabler into an instrument of self harm. Sample lyric “I’m on my bed/my bed of stones/but at the end of the night/we can rest our bones.” Quite.

Aside from the swirling horror-movie-scene-set-in-a-crypt keyboards, Nika’s voice is a cold, distant thing, robbed – like one imagines the singer might have been – of human contact. Then there’s the zombie marching drum machines and the single Night that never fears to stray from the promised land of tune. The record ends with Nika warning of a time when "the lights turn out on us." By the sound of this, they’ve never even been on. [PJ Meiklem]

Playng Captain's Rest, Glasgow on 4 Sep and Roxy Art House, Edinburgh on 5 Sep.