Zelienople (named after a borough in Pennsylvania) is the moniker of Chicago based musicians Matt Christensen (guitar/vocals), Mike Weis (percussion) and Brian Harding (guitar/clarinet) and between them, in a desolate suburban basement, they have come up with a record of pure psych-rock sludge.
Now on their fifth album, the band have struck upon their finest moment yet, honing their skills to create something singular and utterly unique. There is certainly no shortage of acts willing to throw down waves of experimental guitar noise and clattering percussion, but with the benefit of focus and experience, Zelienople sound like something totally out of time and almost impossible to place.
Residing in a hazy drunken world in-between slow-core pioneers Low, psych-folk outsiders Charalambides, Japanese overlords Boris and Dead Man era Neil Young ‘His/Hers’ is a faded photograph of rock music past, yet still manages to keep a firm footing in the present. Guitars echo like disappearing ghosts and vocals moan and wail mercilessly while percussion bubbles up in glorious waterlogged waves.
‘His/Hers’ isn’t a concept album, but it might as well be with five bravely sculpted tracks acting like chapters, taking you through a whole gamut of emotions, from pensive and lonely through to aggressive and impulsive and beyond. Fusing the warring factions of blues, noise, metal, folk and jazz the trio have made as breathtaking a psychedelic album as you’re likely to find, and unlike so many others in the scene it never threatens to overwhelm you with meaningless academia or pretension.
This is an album made for listening, for enjoying and sinking in to, an album that is made as an illicit treat for the discerning music fans among us. Grab hold and step aboard, Zelienople are just about ready to take you on a universal journey into the subconscious, and it’s gonna be quite some ride.
[...] His/Hers succeeds as one of the more digestible, personable albums to come out of America's psych-folk scene of late: for every gesture towards abstraction there's something to keep you hooked in, something very human that breaks out from beneath that cloak of murk and shadow.
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