Saturday, 1 October 2011

Zola Jesus - Conatus

Conatus is the new album from Zola Jesus, out at the end of September and already finding new fans for the unique vocalist.

Second single Seekir is due for release on October 3rd on Souterrain Transmissions - you can preview it below, or read on for our full take on Conatus.

Conatus (Deluxe Edition) - Zola Jesus
High Points

Second track Avalanche opens with some fairly ominous sounding bass, before Zola Jesus' haunting vocals kick into action. In essence, it's the opening track of Conatus, the minute-long Swords acting as more of a prologue. And it serves its purpose well, giving the singer chance to shine against a fairly minimal instrumental backing.

Ixode carries Conatus towards its halfway point with a lingering outro, again haunting the listener with metallic strains and layered chanting. Think of the ending of Lift Me Up, by Moby, but stretched over four minutes, and you're along the right lines. This makes me happy, as I always thought that was the best bit of that song.

The Verdict

Conatus is an intriguing collection of gothic-style chants and electronica compositions. It brings to mind everything from Nicolette's 1996 album Let No-one Live Rent-Free in Your Head, to an album of Bulgarian folk music and chanting eastern European nuns I have somewhere in my CD collection.

None of that is intended as criticism, though - those are some of the more distinctive elements in my record collection, and Zola Jesus is nothing if not distinctive. It's easy to see why the feedback from her live shows is so positive from those who attend - the girl has something a little bit special, for sure.

While Zola's live shows enrapture her audiences, it's a shame you can't quite catch the emotion in a recording. That being said, Conatus remains an energetic and original composition - and is one more album that begs to be played loud enough to echo.

Final Score: 84%

Conatus (Deluxe Edition) - Zola Jesus

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