Okovi | Zola Jesus: Album Review

Artist: Zola Jesus
Album: Okovi
Record Label: Sacred Bones Record

Musician Zola Jesus returns with an epic array of her classical goth pop melodies in her fifth studio album, Okovi. This emotionally indebted work was released on Sept. 8 and marks her second return with Sacred Bones Records after working with Mute Records on her 2014 album Taiga.

The album is something like a battle cry. The listener is presented with conversations between the conscious and unconscious identity of the singer Nika Roza Danilova. In “Exhumed,” Danilova sings about being between a rock and a hard place but striving to come out of this dark path while offering hope for others. She belts out, “Let it sink / Don’t let it hold you down.”

The theme of internal turmoil listeners hear in “Exhumed” continues in “Witness.” The song consists of convincing someone committed to ending their life into understanding their own beauty. “We see you shine / More than the dull you fear / You’re a rare kind / If you could see from the outside …To be a witness / To those deep, deep wounds /… Second chance to pull you / From the wreckage of your mind.” The tonality of the vocals in this song paired with the violin in the back- ground provide a pleasant tempo from beginning to end.

The somber, ethereal melodies in Okapi maintain Danilova’s consisten sound in part due to Danilova’s uplifting lyricism as in past albums. Okapi is an anthem of self discovery aimed at overcoming one’s inner demons.

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