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VINE VOICEon 26 August 2010
then Zola Jesus would have been on the sound track. This is a dry-iced epic of massive synth slabs, with Nika Rosa Danilova's powerful, primal voice soaring out of the machine-tooled haze and sub-bass rumble. There is something gleaming and 80's about these gothic power ballads, something very direct in these tales of longing and belonging.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 23 September 2010
Zola Jesus is Nika Rosa Danilova and her new album
'Stridulum II' is a very nice little nightmare.
She possesses a strong voice which runs the full
gamut of colours from grey through to black.

The nine pieces in this collection combine big
echoing back-beats and dense washes of atmospheric
synth chords as a framework for her tortured vocal
performances. Truth-be-told there is very little
variation in the design and dynamics of her vocal lines
but this seems to occur more by design than chance.

It's moody old stuff from top to tail but for those
of us with an appetite for the dark side there is
much to engage our attention and imagination. I was
particularly drawn to a wonderfully maudlin number
entitled 'Run Me Out'. The reverberating four-note
drone throbs along menacingly giving Ms Jesus a splendid
opportunity to fully indulge her dystopian muse.

'Tower' is another jolly slice of Gothic turbulence.
There's a slow blues chugging away just below the surface
but the deadpan vocal delivery ensures that it never quite
bursts out of its bonds to enjoy a moment or two in the sun!

Crikey! 'Sea Talk' has a melody which (with a little
practice) you could almost sing along to. For one
uncanny moment an image came into my mind's eye of
Ms Jesus sporting an enormous beehive hairdo! (The spirit
of Phil Spector may well have been smiling in the wings).

If Diamanda Galas and Bono had spawned a love child the
product of that unlikely union might well have sounded a
bit like our heroine on 'I Can't Stand'. Epic melancholia.

Final track 'Lightsick' offers no respite from the
all-pervading gloom but in the stripped-down arrangement
for (clumsily hammered) piano and voice Ms Jesus
nonetheless manages to deliver something close to tangibly
articulated emotion. A curiously affecting conclusion.

Don't expect too many laughs and like me you may find
much to admire in this magnificently sepulchral confection.

Recommended.
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on 3 March 2011
Siouxsie, Nico, doom laden and teutonic hooks Depeche Mode would be proud of. Who is Zola Jesus? I don't care much and what the exact influences are.

Tantilising, striking, neo-goth vocal dramatics and waves of heavy textures this is masterful and just right at 9 tracks short. Don't the best records make their point more quickly? I hope that it will be bettered in a follow up only because it doesn't quite feel like the masterpiece that the above artists have achieved. A slight notch up in the tune and hook quality and not masking them with too many ethereal noises is the key. Maybe i'm being picky.

Either way this SOUNDS (expletive) great. A revolt against money churning and insipid pop/soul divas. Zola Jesus could yet be one of the most acclaimed artists of this decade. Already being in the know I don't give one!
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on 29 December 2012
The image attached to the Stridulum II album cover is quite disorientating, like a 3D image when you're not wearing 3D glasses. In a number of ways this fairly represents the album, it's disorientating and yet in that there is such dark beauty. Escape into the textured vocals of "Zola Jesus" where the lyrics became more and more redundant to me with each listen, giving way to vocal inclination that collides with the instrumentation.

The introduction to the album is the track 'Night' which, despite the title, is probably one of the lighter tracks of the album. One which you can get lost in but still feel like there's a guiding partner next to you. Anyone who wishes to experience a different side to the album should listen to "Sea Talk" which feels like a conversation between the "instruments" and "Zola".

Definitely worth the purchase - particularly for the dark winter mornings.
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on 23 August 2010
zola jesus is a young new yorker who revels in the sounds of ethereal and classic 4ad bands such as Dead Can Dance. an awesome debut - a must have!
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on 23 April 2011
I bought this mainly for one track 'Night' and I am happy with that....the other tracks are ok and I have played it a couple of times...You might say, why review until you've something to say...and I think that's my point...usually I would have something to say after a few listens, good or bad..but this is all I can muster.
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on 26 October 2010
The first time it sounds very new, interesting and attractive but I got used to her voice and style very soon. Worth having though
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