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Give It Up

Zelienople

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Album Review

The opening moments of Give It Up almost make it seem like the "it" is all hope, light, and happiness — not that it's some blast of negativity per se, but with swathes of reverb, buried demi-twang guitars, and a feeling of ominous melancholy down to the half-heard words sung in calm, even more reverbed heavy darkness, the feeling is almost like someone said, "What if we took those old Codeine and Low albums and slowed them down some while wrapping them in gauze?" (It doesn't exactly change the mood any to note that the song is called "Aging.") If anything, the real source of Zelienople's approach on their 2009 album would be late Pygmalion-era Slowdive, given the effect of the stretched-out performances with piano being given regular prominence against the rolling flow of the music and the ultimate sense of serene calm mixed with glowering drama. (Admittedly the latter can sometimes come up more in the song titles such as "All I Want Is Calm" and "I Can Put All My Faith in Her.") As plenty of bands focused more on early Slowdive rather than late over the years (including, arguably, earlier Zelienople themselves), it's a nice switch in emphasis that pays dividends throughout Give It Up — the adjective that could best be used to describe the album might actually be "drowned." The sense of deep depths being roiled by something far below, as can be heard on "Can't Stop" and its intensely fiery guitar rage down in the mix, or the scraping rasps underlying the near church organ calm of "Water Saw," provides a strong continuity throughout the album, helping it stake its own quietly compelling place in a larger sonic continuum.

Biography

Formed: 1998

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Forming in 1998 out of the ashes of several failed rock bands, Zelienople was a godsend for the members. Keyboardist/clarinetist Brian Harding, bassist/synth player Matt Christensen, and drummer Mike Weis came together out of a similar dislike for their previous experiences and a love for drone-based jazz. Combining their many strange and psychedelic influences into a lean sound, the group gigged around...
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Give It Up, Zelienople
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