Single release: Strange Girl by The Zolas
Release date: 4 March 2013
Label: Light Organ Records
Listen: on official website
‘Bouncy and sunkissed 60’s flavoured art-pop… all cutesy Shins melodies and psychedelic ‘shrooms… vintage greatness’ - NME Radar Buzz
‘...has the complex, multi-layered and warm approach of a slew of long-lost, oh so serious, ostensibly unassuming 80s souls … lovingly assembled’ - Q
‘This Canadian duo’s rich powerpop confections show off lush and sweet pop hooks’ - Mojo
‘An engagingly human warmth and unforced sincerity’ - Uncut
‘Zachary Gray's plaintive voice and the exertion of his delivery recall Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst’ - The Observer
‘Oddly beguiling melodies sugared by sweet choruses… a keen sense of disjunction with the modern world’ - The Independent
‘Stunning post-modern pop’ - Artrocker
‘Matching bubblegum melodies to sharp-as-a-tack lyrics… a bookish, poindexter charm’ - Clashmusic.com
‘Expertly straddles the thin line between definite pop sentiment and edgy, minimal instrumentation’ - The 405
After debuting with Tic Toc Tic in 2009, The Zolas scaled the precipice of cult status across their native Canada, thanks to a loyal fanbase carried over from Zach Gray (vocals, guitar) and Tom Dobrzanski’s (piano) earlier years as acclaimed indie rock quartet, Lotus Child. With the band’s sophomore release, Ancient Mars (Dec 2012), they finally broke ground in the UK, scoring reviews across Q, Mojo, Uncut, The Independent and The Observer as well as a coveted slot in NME’s Buzz pages. Former single Knot In My Heart cemented the band as blog favourites, climbing quickly to #1 on Hype Machine, helped by the emergence of a beautiful video which was spotlighted by NME.com, Spinner and NPR. The single also featured on The Line of Best Fit’s January 2013 Oh! Canada Playlist.
Ancient Mars proved to be an album of contrasts and one that saw them bid farewell to the cabaret glitz of Tic Toc Tic, instead favouring reverbed pianos and tough, minimalist percussion. Strange Girl finds The Zolas in their most playful state on the album. As if to offset Ancient Mars’ aesthetic diversity, the lyrics are raw and focused, their tumultuous songwriting capturing the zeitgeist of being in your 20s, on the cusp of youth and real adulthood.
“We wrote Strange Girl through a series of jams while soundchecking before shows. I had been reading the Ray Davies autobiography and he said something along the lines of 'I don't know how to write hits but I do know that every song of ours that became a hit had a great guitar riff'. I'm not that good at writing guitar riffs but I came up with this one because it reminded me of some summer radio hit from the 90's. We kept it simple. Tom's Wurlitzer part really made it for me rhythmically. Nobody would write a part like that but him.
It’s a different-sounding song from the others but lyrically it fits with the theme of the album: We had something that felt monumental at the time and, like everything else, it ended. All the more reason to appreciate that it even happened at all.”
Strange Girl is released on March 4 via Light Organ Records.
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