Zola Jesus

Stridulum EP

Sacred Bones

Mar 23, 2010 Bookmark and Share


A lo-fi goth EP dipped into the synth-coated melodrama of the 1980s, Stridulum reaches for the depth of human emotion, and often gets there. However, while intensely personal and beautifully constructed, it often teeters on the edge of excess, as Zola Jesus (née Nika Roza Danilova) allows her larger-than-life ambitions to translate into a singularly oppressive tone.

The bulk of Stridlum's faults lie in Jesus' all-or-nothing vocal delivery. Hitting every note with the intensity of an American Idol contestant scorned, she often tramples over incredibly sophisticated deliciously dark instrumentation. When the two combine forces, they hit hard, as is the case with all-consuming track "Night" or surprisingly comforting "I Can't Stand."

Taken alone, the majority of tracks pose a strong argument for a "more is more" approach to songwriting. Together, the ear begins to search for a brief respite to the onslaught. Slow building "Run Me Out" begins with Esben and the Witch-style atmospherics, but it to is quickly lost under too much, too soon. A perfect flavor only for your over-the-top angst, Stridulum's catharsis is a one-size-fits all. (www.zolajesus.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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