Release Date: Oct 26, 2010
Record label: Verve Forecast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Indie Pop
There’s no denying Elizabeth Ziman’s croon is familiar. It’s warm and knowing, calling to mind Fiona Apple in resonance and Feist in cadence. But truth be told, Ziman doesn’t sound exactly like anyone—except for herself. The same could be said for The Other Side of Zero. While the piano ….
Albums that open with the sound of a ticking clock intrigue me. I’m not entirely sure why, but that constant ticking — which I’d likely find annoying anywhere else — is interesting when its included in the musical outlay. Let’s blame Pink Floyd for that one. That said, Elizabeth & The Catapult’s The Other Side of Zero is a pop album that starts solidly, with the track (Time) We All Fall Down providing an eye (or an ear) to what the album has in store.
Elizabeth Ziman could pass for Sara Bareilles’ twin -- both have strong alto voices, an “anything goes” approach to pop music, and the ability to turn heartbreak into something tuneful. There’s certainly plenty of heartbreak on The Other Side of Zero, which doubles as Elizabeth & the Catapult’s second full-length album and first full-fledged breakup record. Fresh from a botched romance, Ziman shines a spotlight on her darker side, resulting in a set list that’s considerably more ballad-heavy than 2009’s zippy Taller Children.
Elizabeth and the Catapult’s 2009 breakthrough song, “Taller Children,” was a cheery bit of indie pop, and their new album, The Other Side of Zero, sees the Brooklyn trio, led by singer-songwriter Elizabeth Ziman, keeping their technique cool, calm, and consistent. The opening track, “Julian Darling,” gets the record off to an excellent start, a playful piano intertwining with not-too-gruff guitars, and Ziman’s Feist-like vocals soaring over all the instruments, powerful and languid at the same time. Part of the chorus suggests a state of impending confusion (“When north is south and east is west and every step’s incongruous”), but the album as a whole is quite familiar and musically consistent.
Does a post-breakup album always have to be melancholy or angry? Formerly a trio, Elizabeth & the Catapult is now a duo consisting of classically trained pianist and singer Elizabeth Ziman and drummer Dan Molad. The Brooklyn duo’s sophomore album The Other Side of Zero is a blend of pop, coffee shop folk, jazz, and 70’s singer-songwriter, under the shadow of Leonard Cohen. The Other Side of Zero opens with the sound of a ticking clock on “Time (We All Fall Down)”, which may be a little on the nose, but it’s still a strong opener.