Zelienople

Ink

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On Ink, the Chicago-based trio Zelienople tend toward the calmer side of their approach, a shadowy take on folk psychedelics that's as indebted to 4AD and the impact of shoegaze as it is those who first played around with the form on record in previous decades, not to mention the perhaps inevitable impact of Spacemen 3's own studied approach. The result is a fine blend of then and now, with the album's six tracks essentially blending into each other as one extended presentation if not performance. Not for nothing is one song, with a lovely organ part matched against slow, steady acoustic guitar notes, called "The Nod Squad" -- there's a feeling throughout the album that is half drowsy sleep, half narcotic torpor, an embrace of relative stillness that they're able to maintain easily over the course of the release. (Though perhaps calling one song "Rahabilitation" pushes the drug metaphor a little too clearly -- but hey, such is the way language works.) "It's Still Hard to Steal Cars" begins the album on that agreeably moody note, melancholic without being overtly doomy, as vocals are half sighed like a ghostly Marc Bolan over low sitar-tinged swirls and an acoustic guitar melody. The title track in turn moves to an even emptier state, an instrumental where all the performers play around what seems like a loop of distant strange tones, as low-key an improvisation as might exist -- drums quietly clattering here and there, guitar feedback like low, never cresting waves. "Seroquel" brings out a more aggressive edge to a generally quiet listen, with more stretched-out feedback and clanging noise making the trip seem a lot worse than when it started.

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