Conatus - SACRED BONES
FILTER Grade: 85%
By Laura Studarus on October 4, 2011
Nika Roza Danilova (who performs as Zola Jesus) is probably growing weary of the Siouxsie Sioux comparisons. Her third full-length album, Conatus, does nothing to dissuade critics. The music is an explosive blend of goth, electro and industrial influences—but it’s her seductive, banshee-call-of-a-voice that dominates—peaking through the slow-burning static of “Collapse,” soaring above the sparse piano lines of “Skin” and becoming an additional instrument in the ghostly chorus of “Ixode.” It’s a textured collection of 11 tunes—all united with an innate sense of “epicness.” Danilova’s more-is-more mentality may be off-putting to some listeners (instrumental embellishments circle her swooping voice like auditory eyeliner), but it’s executed with the utmost care—a theater-ready album for the hipster set. Like an Andrew Lloyd Webber heroine in combat boots, Danilova aims for (and succeeds) at cramming every track into a show-stopping moment. Otherworldly, weird and downright gorgeous. Siouxsie oughta be proud.