08.08.2011, Words by Charlie Jones

Zola Jesus

The raw talent Zola Jesus possesses is mind-buckling. The steely, blossoming darkness of her album ‘Stridulum II’ wouldn’t be so special if it wasn’t accompanied by that voice. Operatically trained, Nika Danilova could move mountains and sway oceans with those lungs, and it makes for a striking spectacle seeing it all happen in the flesh. You watch her conjure up a track like I Can’t Stand, and the sheer might of what she can do, voice untreated and organic, knocks the breath away. It’s not just the sonics of it that are incredible though. Through the entire set, Trust Me’s big-hearted, vulnerable yearn, the drama of Stridulum, she’s looking out at the audience from behind her songs, drawing all present under. Night towers upwards, and she finishes on new song Vessel from her forthcoming album which is as darkly gripping as anything else she’s put out. It’s strange when it’s all over, like jolting suddenly out of dream. Zola Jesus has strength and character, and isn’t abashed about making you feel her presence.

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