Zelienople

His/Hers

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Zelienople's fifth full-length CD is a keeper, no doubt about it. It seems that Matt Christensen, Mike Weis, and Brian Harding have hit their stride, perfecting their approach to music as a group to a level on par with bands like Charalambides, Jackie-O Motherfucker, and Low -- instantly recognizable yet still very creative. His/Hers features five long, slow, feeling-laden songs. A bit of shoegazing, a lot of slowcore, a psychedelic sensibility, but also a strong folk song feel all inform Zelienople's music. Tempi are extremely slow and notes are usually few and far between, with plenty of empty space to hear the guitar amps hum away, but the music remains cohesive and never sounds lazy or easy (except maybe at the beginning of "Sweet Ali," a weaker moment arrangement-wise). The album begins relatively smoothly with "Family Beast," a piece that quickly sets the tone: slow-paced guitar picking, delicate guitar wailings, and Spartan percussion with plenty of skin and cymbal rubbing. His/Hers hits its peaks halfway through, with "Parts Are Lost" and "Forced March," two bewitching tracks where brooding atmosphere, emotional charge, and conceptual development are best balanced. A ton of bands from New Zealand, Scandinavia, and Rhode Island could be name-dropped here as points of comparison, but His/Hers stands above most of these bands' productions, mostly because it has character and holds together as a thought-over artistic proposition, instead of simply documenting experiments in progress. This album deserves to rank among the best the so-called New Weird America has to offer. A low-key highlight of 2007.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
6:53 Amazon
2
9:02 Amazon
3
9:27 Amazon
4
9:42 Amazon
5
8:56 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick