BLK JKS: ZOL! EP Review
If you missed out on BLK JKS excellent After Robots EP, the World Cup seems to be doing their best to make sure that you don’t miss their current EP, the excellent 5 song collection titled Zol!. The title track has been used as a promo for various World Cup ads, and the infectious tune is a great track to accompany the unrepentant joy of the biggest sporting event in the world.
The title track is shorter (just under three and a half minutes) and more tight and upbeat than their previous material. The song is joyous, almost reminiscent of the party anthems of The Very Best. The rest of the album falls a little more closely in line with their previous works, being slightly longer and featuring more tangled, prog like instrumentation. Ranging from the TV on the Radio meetings world prog of opener “Iietys” to the ominous strut of closer “Mzabalazo (Demo Version),” the album shows off a band that is as talented and adventurous as anyone in “indie rock.” The undoubted highlight of the record is the long, multi-part gem of “Paradise.” Switching from gurgling, Pink Floyd esqe guitars to a lighter, more swinging rhythms, the song is epic in every sense and shows the band at their very best. The track stretches out for six-plus adventurous minutes with lyrics like “I don’t want to die in the arms of a stranger tonight.” The song is dense and multi facet, but never seems overdone or extraneous. The whole EP is a wild affair that the band once again manages to not make overblown. The group pushes and pulls their songs just as far as they will go, but always seem to get them back at just the right time.
I liked the band after their last EP, but it really took seeing the band last year at the Cedar Cultural Center to solidify how great they were. I have a healthy skepticism for any band that could be in any way described as “prog,” but seeing the group live helped to show that everything they did was based around that groove, the one that permeates certain types of music, that feel that comes more often from funk or blues. BLK JKS just throw in some guitar effect pedals and some noodling guitars, but that infectious live show allowed me to see that they weren’t just interested in experimenting for the sake of being different. Zol! Is a great next step and continues to help establish the band as a group that is willing to take chances, ones that succeed more often than they don’t.
Stream ZOL! HERE