Thalia Zedek Band / Thalia Zedek

Six

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Six seems like a curiously fitting title for this EP from Thalia Zedek -- not just because it features six songs, but because the straightforward minimalism of the handle suits the expressive simplicity of this music. Built around circular guitar structures and Zedek's plain-spoken vocals, most of the material on Six feels like a poet's journal entries paired with a guitar and a muted rhythm section; this lacks the firepower of Zedek's work with Come, but there's an emotional intensity in this music that's palpable, even when the music is low-key. Zedek's guitar work here is cunning and hypnotic, with distorted breaks adding gravity and dynamics on tunes like "Dreamalie" and "Fell So Hard," while Zedek's band gracefully follows her lead, giving these songs a sound and feel that's evocative without hitting harder than necessary, and David Michael Curry's viola and Mel Lederman's piano both bring plenty of colors to these songs that suit their dour temper. Zedek wrote five of the six songs, and while her cover of Freakwater's "Flathand" has a noticeably different feel than the numbers that surround it, it also fits the stark, soul-bearing tone of this set like a glove. Six is short and spare, but it packs a real wallop as music and a look through the soul of one woman making sense of a difficult life. Given that we often have to wait a few years between albums from Zedek, this is especially welcome, not merely as a stopgap but as a brief but compelling work from an important artist.

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