The boom in gothic drama of a decade-plus ago has moved on (currently the trend’s more sad girl ironic pop), but that tragic & beautiful style has stayed true in artists like Zola Jesus. Latest release ARKHON doesn’t expand her sound, but still does it nicely.
A dark, echoing haunt, Zola Jesus certainly knows how to do it, whether starker on “Into the Wild” or more synth-loss with “The Fall”. The best is probably when she goes biggest, with the pressing, expanding darkness of “Sewn”, where, yes, her voice brings to mind Kate Bush’s in “Running Up That Hill” in the Upside-Down of Stranger Things, but that’s a great song (and a great moment). On the other hand, there is probably too much quiet/loud near the end of the record.
The times haven’t gotten any brighter, even after COVID is semi-over (or at least we pretend it is) – now we’ve got monkeypox? The gothic drama of Zola Jesus holds up today & will tomorrow.