Monday, October 01, 2012

The Zolas: "Ancient Mars" (album review)

Ancient Mars has been a success for The Zolas before it even hits stores.  The sophomore record from the Vancouver band spawned a Hype Machine hit well in advance of the October 2nd release date.

The bulk of what you get from The Zolas is indie rock with a progressive slant.  A track like "Local Swan", for example, treats you to the expansiveness of prog rock, without having to sit through any of the torturous cliches.  "Observatory" begins its life as a quirky arty number, but eventually grows into a big, catchy anthem.

Catchy is the name of the game on Ancient Mars.  However, it's catchy without being overbearingly so.  Clap-like beats pump through your speakers on "Escape Artist" and will get your toes tapping.  Choppy guitars propel the funky jive rocker "Strange Girl".

The Zolas take their time with each song.  Their performance is unhurried, delivery melodic rock on their own time.  "Knot In My Heart" and the slightly spacey title track are smooth and laid back.

The biggest departure here is "Cold Moon".  The song features a beefy beat that sounds like a raindrop splattering the concrete, before luring you into an insipid-yet-irresistible refrain.

With Ancient Mars The Zolas have put together a solid, versatile record that can be listened to in nearly any mood imaginable.  It will probably end up netting them a sack full of Canadian award nominations.

The Zolas play the Great Hall in Toronto on October 12th with Hey Ocean!

Best tracks: "Strange Girl", "Escape Artist"

Track listing for Ancient Mars:
  • In Heaven
  • Knot In My Heart
  • Ancient Mars
  • Strange Girl
  • Escape Artist
  • Observatory
  • Local Swan
  • Euphrates & Tigris
  • Cold Moon
  • Cultured Man

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