Zola Jesus has done it again. While a few weeks ago this young woman, a fan of lyrical singing and reclusive childhoods, whose given name is Nika Roza Danilova surprised us with “Stridulum II”, her twist of the dramatic song on a record that will bring nightmares to Florence Welch and Kate Bush, this “Valusia EP”, produced by Chris Coady, adds three previously unreleased pieces to her repertoire –apart from recovering “Sea Talk”– which are a step ahead in a career that promises to be prolific. Little by little, Zola Jesus abandons that gothic halo of her previous songs and shows some worldly chiaroscuros with poppy structures, but with the same dose of exuberant drama she has used to date. It’s not that she’s becoming a conventional author, but here she opens up to an audience that so far didn’t know about this brilliant and overacting bookworm with visceral vocal chords.
As proof, here we have the escalating spiral aspiring to dance rhythms –which will be there when the remixes are released– of “Poor Animal”, an irresistible song, and more so when the vocal beat descends in favour of some violins capable of making the most incredulous levitate. Then there is “Tower”, the industrial funeral march in which the solitude Zola Jesus has lived in almost all of her life can be traced. But if there is one track that shows her full potential, it’s the final ballad “Lightsick”, heartbreaking and captivating, with a piano that almost brought me to tears on various occasions. I love Zola Jesus, she excites me, she gives me goose bumps like no-one has in years and she left me in pieces. This is not just another revelation. With her 21 years she is grand like nobody else.