Dusted Reviews

Zelienople - Give It Up

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Zelienople

Album: Give It Up

Label: Type

Review date: Dec. 4, 2009

Since their inception in 1998, Zelienople has always been tagged with comparisons to Talk Talk (Laughing Stock-era, of course). It seemed odd. A band exploring the wandering drones of mossy folk music being influenced by one of the great studio groups of the modern era. But with each album, this focus on tone and recording refinement became more and more apparent. The eerie backwoods-ness of their early recordings still remains, but now it’s set forth through richly toned ripples of groove and echo. Sure, they lack a vocalist nearly as enchanting as Mark Hollis, but with Give It Up, Zelienople worthily deserve all comparisons.

The Chicago trio’s talent for creating a moody sense of calm is rare. The music builds and coalesces but never tumbles. Instead, it dissipates upon peaking into an unhurried resolution of billowing soundwaves. Unlike the aforementioned Talk Talk and much more akin to other obvious influences such as Flying Saucer Attack or Slowdive, there are few open spaces. A bed of dithering and echoing sounds (emanating from percussive toys, synthesizers and guitar by-product) nearly always curls near the foundation. The sharply toned yawning of electric guitar or a spraying of drums care of the skilled Mike Weis will momentarily dominate the forefront, but the band nevertheless restricts any type of breaking in the calm. Give It Up drifts rather than searches. It’s an album of mood, not direction.

After the mellow, limping opener “Aging,” the album’s groove sets in. A steady rhythm of hand percussion and a wraithlike piano loop ground the washes of feedback during “Can’t Stop,” only to swell outward into the slight misnomer, “All I Want is Calm.” Matt Christensen and Brian Harding have a knack for enveloping. What begins as a simple melodic loop almost always succumbs to the encircling rings of indeterminate sound by song’s end. God knows what effect pedals they are patching their respective instruments through, but the final product manages to balance a sense of sonorousness and erosion.

Give It Up progresses with more and more concise statements of sound. The eerie organ-driven “Water Saw” leads to the surprisingly melodic and bewitching “I Can Put All My Faith in Her” (the apex of their Talk Talk-ishness). And the final three tracks, each shorter than the next except the bittersweet finale, “All Planned,” find the trio experimenting with different combinations of by-product dexterity and undulating harmonies.

Zelienople’s talent has always been to create a whirlpool of sound. A task much more effective in a live setting with an entire room to fill with music. Give It Up proves to be their most successful translation from that environment to the often-unsympathetic medium of digital sound to date.

By Michael Ardaiolo

Other Reviews of Zelienople


Read More

View all articles by Michael Ardaiolo

Find out more about Type

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.