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Conatus by Zola Jesus
Released: Oct 2011
Label: Sacred Bones Records
It's hard to talk about goth-opera belter Zola Jesus without referencing half a dozen rock goddesses she expertly evokes: the glam grandiosity of Siouxsie Sioux, the arty extravagance of Björk and Kate Bush, the pop-melodrama fireworks of Stevie Nicks. But her third full-length conjures a high-gravity universe all her own, deep and heavy, with industrial-noise discord bleeding into monolithic torch songs that make Florence + the Machine sound minimalist. Tracks like "Hikikomori" lean on anguished strings, "Skin" on plaintive piano. But ZJ's authoritarian bellow is the star attraction.
Rob Harvilla