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The Zolas – Ancient Mars Light Organ Records OUT NOW | FESTIVALPHOTO
 

The Zolas – Ancient Mars Light Organ Records OUT NOW

After debuting with Tic Toc Tic in 2009, The Zolas scaled the precipice of cult status across their native Canada, thanks to a loyal fanbase carried over from Zach Gray (vocals, guitar) and Tom Dobrzanski’s (piano) earlier years as acclaimed indie rock quartet, Lotus Child. On their sophomore release, Ancient Mars, The Zolas are set to continue their legacy of postmodern pop, trading in the cabaret glitz of Tic Toc Tic for reverbed pianos and tough, minimalist percussion.

In Strange Girl a sunny guitar riff blasts into the perfect mid-‘90s summer jam, while title track “Ancient Mars” is bouncy and nostalgic, heaping spoonfuls of Montreal and Brooklyn avant-pop. Forthcoming single Knot In My Heart, is textured yet minimalist, allowing ghostly synths to trade blows with buzzing guitars. Elsewhere, the title track Ancient Mars subtly chimes its way to a suitably spacey resolution, while Escape Artist really epitomises what The Zolas do best; outsider-pop stories set to a thoughtful, brooding soundtrack.

As if to offset Ancient Mars’ aesthetic diversity, the lyrics are raw and focused. The Zolas’ tumultuous songwriting captures the zeitgeist of being in your 20s, on the cusp of youth and real adulthood. In each song Gray builds a skeleton of a setting – from outer space to a college library to a Victorian jail cell – and tells stories fleshed out with the listener’s own history.

In October, The Zolas teamed up with Winnipeg’s The Liptonians to release a 7” split single “Cultured Man”, a quixotic snack in between the two full-length albums. Dobrzanski is the band’s on-board producer, having worked with names in indie-rock royalty like Said the Whale and We Are The City, but for Ancient Mars production duties were handed over to Chuck Brody (Phantogram, Wu-Tang), much like how 2009’s Tic Toc Tic was produced by Howard Redekopp (Mother Mother, The New Pornographers).

The Zolas - Escape Artist from Light Organ Records on Vimeo.

Writer: Anthony May
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