steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Ink" CD

Loose Thread Recordings

Genre: experimental, slowcore

March 2007

Ambient, droney, sometimes noisy ambient rock from a group I had previously relegated to slowcore. Zelienople have sure shifted their focus around since their past two releases, and their balls and daring are put to good use on Ink. They still have vocals in places, and some measure of actual "pop" songwriting, but the lengthy ambient drone and noise diversions take up a considerable portion of the disc's running time. Yet as a fan of outsider music, I'm by no means complaining - if anything, I find this work to be deeper and more moving than Zelienople's past efforts.

The atmospheric drone material on Ink tends to be centred around two distinct formats. "Ink" and reverb-laden "Seroquel" are very abstract, with any real semblance of melody being marginal at best. Meanwhile, "The Nod Squad" and "Pace Car" feature lovely, vaguely melodic guitar playing atop ambient soundscapery. The more "song" oriented music on Ink is found in the form of three of eight songs. These still stretch the boundaries of typical "pop" music (to say the least), but shades of Low can be heard in a track like "Boxes On Shores," whereas dark "It's Still Hard To Steal Cars" broods on in its eerily uplifting manner.

To put a cap on it, Ink is a record that projects melody and "traditional" song form onto some surprisingly abstract sound experimentation. Noisier and more bizarre than one might expect, Zelienople's record is worthwhile for those willing to keep an open mind. In the end, Ink forces the listener to find a strange sense of uplift amidst a dark and haunting veil of hopelessness. When given time to unfold, the record conveys this with breathtaking ease.

zelienople's myspace


Fun Fact: Zelienople is a borough in Pennslyvania:

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, 45:09, distributed by NAIL, released March 14, 2006]