Zelienpole are a four-piece who hail from Chicago. On Show Us The Fire, they use folk and rock as a base, layering textures lifted from jazz and ambient music, bringing each genre's subtleties to the fore and creating a sound unique to them. The music is stoic: the discontented feelings of anxiety and anger are hidden under layers of reverb and restrained by their slow tempo.
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- Show Us The Fire by Zelienople
8/10 Robin Staff review, 25 November 2015
I like to feel like I am an illusion and everything around me is too, so I’m pretty into Zelienople’s brand of displacing post-rock. With a voice that cuts out between Arthur Russell and the dude from Tindersticks, plus a dampened, more affectionate take on Swans repeating rock ‘n’ roll arrangements, ‘Show Us The Fire’ has a lot of meandering tricks up its sleeve; the way different sounds are scoped makes it feel like you’re never going anywhere, while also being late for something urgent.
“Don’t Step Until You Die” is the first sign that Zelienople are kinda secretly special, with a twinkling piano figure rolling through the background like it’s happening at the end of the hallway; mucky guitar joins it the other end, and working at an entirely different timbre, the two somehow combine into something gorgeous, as if they’re been hypnotised into synchronicity by the rhythm. Throughout, the record retains this strange musical communication, with instruments meeting other instruments and lethargically working their way towards a midpoint. The atmosphere is both patient and ominous -- you know that eye before the storm thing? Yeah; that. It’s more eye without the storm, though.
Slowly adding an increment of post-punk to their sound through ruinously toned riffs and echoing gloom twang, Zelienople are more interested in wallowing in the ascent to the climax than actually releasing themselves into one. That might be what makes this record so great; it slithers about, but it isn’t going to eat you. How benevolent.
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