Review Of “Glossolalia” By Zambri



Artist: Zambri
Title: Glossolalia
Record Label: Kanine Records
Rating: 8.0

Jessica and Cristi-Jo Zambri, in addition to having that excellent last name, write the material for and front the four-piece band responsible for this EP. Their initial release, 2009’s Bang for Changes, didn’t receive a wide physical release, but a sizable following in Brooklyn and on the blogs has led to festival gigs, press from Fader and Spin, and this latest release, which Kanine Records is touting as a “first introduction” to this oddest of family bands.

The music is at the experimental tip of electronic pop, reminiscent both of John Balance’s work in Coil and the better moments of M83—the dream pop and aggressive post- industrial genres bridged by the powerful, prominently mixed voices of Jessica and Cristi-Jo. The songwriting is too tight in the traditional sense for this music to be truly experimental, and in the case of a cross-genre group like this, that’s a good thing. The Zambri sisters can do the torch-singer thing when they want to, but often choose to create frosty harmonies over the busy and interesting instrumentation that they have put together with their band.

There are lashings of Nine Inch Nails here and there, mostly from the early Pretty Hate Machine era. The bullying drumbeats and cold, aggressively digital synth-work are reminiscent of young Trent, but the Zambri sisters carry the music into different territory with their voices, which can either be haunting or unexpectedly poppy against the clanging, industrial backdrops.

Not all of the tracks on this EP alternate between assaultive and danceable—“To Keep Back” is a steadily melodic, if creepy, song, with only some cursory dissonance thrown in. Think Q Lazzarus’s legendary Goodbye Horses single, minus the Silence of the Lambs association. The large palate of influences on “Glossolalia” makes for an impressively diverse five-song EP, one that promises the kind of dynamic and diverse live performance that is usually the province of bands with a much bigger back catalogue.

-Nathan Ripley

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