Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Record label: Universal Import
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
This second album from the Vancouver-based indie band is sometimes pretty but too often pretty toothless. Zachary Gray's plaintive voice and the exertion of his delivery recall Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, but it's a comparison that highlights the relative awkwardness of the former's lyrics. Local Swan, though, is an exception, a deeply sweet love song about leaving behind "Montreal's tiny pond" ("When all your friends are photographers/Will you remember me?").
The ZolasAncient Mars[Light Organ Records; 2012]By Ray Finlayson; October 18, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetCanadian duo The Zolas are kind of like Leonard from The Big Bang Theory: somewhere between a geek and a nerd. Their geeky side - or, to be more accurately, lead singer Zachary Gray’s geeky side - has him relaying his flirtatious, cinematic affairs from younger years, like a girl he admired in “earth and ocean class” on “Strange Girl,” or a former girlfriend who is now famous who he has painted “a hundred times” on “Local Swan. " Their nerdiness, on the other hand, comes from not only their references (Western Asia river systems, dying planets), but also from how they try to execute indie rock/pop songs through the stereotype, and, as you might presume, fumble along the way.
Following the Zolas' cabaret-tinged debut, 2009's Tic Toc Tic, the Vancouver, BC duo employed a starker and slinkier sound for this follow-up. Organic sounds are almost non-existent on Ancient Mars, which wraps up its keyboards and electric guitars in a haunting blanket of reverb. This makes for an immersive and atmospheric sonic experience, one made all the better by the group's much-improved songwriting chops.