Sacred Bones Records | October 2011
Zola Jesus has easily dodged the post-success doldrums of her first albums with pure grace. If The Spoils had Nika Danilova singing from the bottom of a well, in Conatus, she emerges unscathed. The album is deliberate in giving space and nuance to each instrument. No longer the dense claustrophobic landscapes we’ve come to expect, songs like “Vessel” evoke a barrenness. Still, she flirts with entropy, disseminating songs with mantras of industrial clang, and ambient curtains of no-fi noise and even splurges into hurried dance beats with “Seekir” and “Ixode.” Acoustic instruments get their moment too, such as in “Skin” where she dwells beautifully on a piano. Conatus provides a sophisticated clarity to Zola Jesus’ work as a whole, brushing even past albums in new light.
Listen to this: Post break-up. — Anika Sabin