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Poor Animal / I Can't Stand by Zola Jesus

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Reviewed on 25th November 2010.


Poor Animal / I Can't Stand

By Zola Jesus

With its throbbing trance beat and buzzy synths, the opening notes of Zola Jesus' 'Poor Animal' will have you bracing yourself for some trendy, electro-indie fare, but then Nika Roza Danilova opens her mouth, and 'Poor Animal' becomes a much more interesting prospect. Her yelpy, faintly disturbing and always unintelligible vocals bristle through this track's bog-standard combo of meaty, repetitive beats and NME-friendly synths, putting an eerie slant on what would otherwise be a pretty boring song. When 'Poor Animal' goes for the epic, sweeping ending, Zola Jesus are clearly out of their comfort zone. The additional synths and out-of-place strings manage to detract from Danilova's voice, without adding anything to the song - luckily, the opening half is bewitching enough to warrant repeat listens.

'I Can't Stand;' the second half of this double A-side has all the appropriate alt-pop pieces: eerie atmospherics, keyboards, gossamer backing vocals and a limping beat, but none of them fit together right. The woozy beat and the vocals are marginally in sync, but all the other sound effects and the backing vocalists are doing something very strange in the background. On its own, 'Poor Animal' may not wow, but Danilova's broken vocals are just intriguing enough to have you considering paying a visit to this band's Myspace - but, after hearing 'I Can't Stand,' you may just change your mind.



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