A year on from 'Versions', an orchestral reworking of old songs, indie and goth pop songwriter Zola Jesus is back with 'Taiga', her first record of original material since 2011. Nika Roza Danilova has said she wrote and recorded 'Taiga' to sound huger and more sonically clear than previous Zola Jesus records, with clean-as-a-whistle vocals and the same full-bodied arrangements found on 'Versions' (or your average Lykke Li record). 'Taiga' sees Danilova shift from Sacred Bones, the gloomy post-punk label on which most of records have been released, to Mute.

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Taiga by Zola Jesus
2 reviews. Write a review for us »
7/10 ReviewBot3000 03 October 2014

After last year's experiment in super-sizing her sound, 'Versions', where she introduced orchestral elements to selections from her gothy synthpop canon, Nika Roza Danilova, or Zola Jesus to her fans, is back with an album of new songs which expand upon this already expansive proposition. I have a feeling 'Taiga' might be a bit of a dividing album for the ZJ faithful, with her move from Sacred Bones to Mute coinciding with a shift towards clear, punchy pop tunes with big arrangements and danceable rhythms.

There's still plenty of light and shade, it's not like she's gone and made a Britney Spears album, but there are times when she's only a couple of warped production touches away from Florence - songs like 'Dangerous Days' and 'Go (Blank Sea)' take her bold, soulful vocals into a radio-ready stomp'n'drift synthpop that you can expect to hear all over 6music some time soon, while the heartbroken crooning and orchestral pomp of 'Ego' takes her into almost Adele-esque territory (thankfully she has the voice for it). There are moments when it all comes together beautifully though - penultimate track 'Hollow' builds from ethereal drones and tribalistic drum patterns into a riotous and unpredictably arranged blend of marching band brass, soulful crooning, sweeping strings and patient, ominous synths.

As an album 'Taiga' is somewhat hit-and-miss, and some may find the intimacy of her previous records compromised by these large scale pop productions, but when she finds the right balance between anthemic uplift and the coal-black undercurrent of weirdness that runs through all her work, it can be very satisfying.

9/10 jackjacks 27th November 2014

I purchased this CD purely due to the fact I enjoyed her recent performance on "Later.........with Jools" and I am very glad I did. very good. a bit gothic-y, and the vocals remind me of Siouxsie. this is ALWAYS a good thing. I must also add how quickly my CD arrived. I have not dealt with Normanrecords before, but not hesitate to use them again.



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