For such a personal album, Conatus rarely feels warm. The brief one-minute intro “Swords” establishes this with a barrage of echoes and discordant sounds. Both “Avalanche” and “Vessel” double-down on that promise- the latter of which features a NINish beat as infectious as it is uncomfortable. Yet, from there the album grows increasingly mellow with “Seekir” and “In Your Nature” acting as the enjoyably faster paced outliers. This chill vibe is not really out of character for Zola Jesus; but at forty minutes, Conatus is Danivola’s lengthiest outing and therefore quite reliant on her voice to carry the brunt of the load, especially in the album’s back half. To her credit, she often feels overwhelming but never tedious. “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake” and the brilliant, slow-burning, “Collapse” are evidence of this ability to remain both fresh and powerful even in the home stretch. Similar to her previous work, many of Danilova’s songs feel interchangeable- the aforementioned exceptions notwithstanding. However, Conatus boasts an organic epicenter for these moments of familiarity to orbit. Zola Jesus has never sounded more human. And the listener can’t help but draw closer.
STANDOUT TRACKS INCLUDE:
Zola Jesus - Avalanche by Treetop
Zola Jesus - Vessel by souterraintransmissions
Zola Jesus - Seekir by souterraintransmissions
Lick The Palm Of The Burning Handshake - Zola Jesus by kevinhuang250
11 - Zola Jesus - Collapse by nukCE
- Fr. Jones