Boomkat Product Review:
Zola Jesus lets it all bleed out on Okovi, a typically grandiose new album of towering gothic opera-pop and embittered electronic textures.
Save for a few guest appearances on records by Jozef Van Wissem and Run The Jewels that displayed her artistic mutability, Nika Roza Danilova has arguably been conspicuous by her solo absence since Taiga for Mute in 2014, and corrects that in a big way inside Okovi, which relocates her sound to the clash of aching pop and experimental instincts that made her early sides so memorable.
We could largely put that switchback down to a rekindled relationship with Sacred Bones, site of Zola’s Stridulum sides, Conatus and hook-up with Dean Hurley. In this safe space for her tortured sound she’s clearly more comfortable to express personalised styles, as opposed to the radio-ready pop of Taiga, teaming up with Stridulum producer Alex DeGroot and also working with like-minded dark soul, James Kelly aka Wife to properly realise her potency.
Underlined by a sextet of strings, electronics and percussion, Zola mounts some of her most impressive work in years with a big highlight in the industrial thunder and pealing vocals of Exhumed, while benefitting from Wife’s sore gothic trap tics on Siphon, and really sharpening her taloned industrial instincts in the warped, glum thump and arena-sized escalation of Veka and, by contrast, the poised restraint of Wiseblood.