It is not easy to rebuild from something good to something equally great but different. You probably will end up comparing yourself to the old structures and traditions, wondering if your new choices are as right and riveting as your previous ones. Fenech Soler have gone from a four piece to a brotherly duo for their newest album Zilla, but the loss of members has birthed a brighter sound for the band. If their previous record Rituals made you appreciate life, Zilla makes sure you celebrate it.
Fenech Soler are inspired by disco, old soul vocal harmony groups, and an unwavering love of pop music. It is that love that shows in the album’s infectious uptempo, and their constant, upbeat homage to classic pop. Although they add layers of futuristic synths, when blended together, you might think you are eating a musical cake. It is that sentiment that helps their sweetly fluffed bass and kick-drum course in songs such as, “Conversation”, “Zilla I”, and “Kaleidoscope” where you might as well be dancing under a waterfall of sugar. Brothers Ben and Ross Duffy have outdone themselves in creating instrumentals that remind you of everything that makes youth fun. Whether it be candied rhythms or lyrics that captivate the boldness of youthful flirtation, when you are young and filled with desire, going for what you want in life, from dreams to lovers, feels like a giant adventure. Zilla manages to exude that excitement through the brothers vocal harmonies.
//cdn.embedly.com/widgets/platform.jsThe Duffy brothers have voices that are kind to listeners’ ears. I know that is a weird compliment, but their harmonies remind me of 90’s pop and R&B when sultry lyrics like, in “Nighttime TV” and “On Top”, felt like sweet offers. They are not trying to score a lover, but win one, to which many listeners will enjoy their lyrical focus on love as a prize not a competition. Many songs have the tendency to portray love and conquest as a game of scores, but Ben and Ross’ harmonies are too good to play.
While Ben has a smooth pitch, Ross comes in with a lower register to show that though Fenech Soler’s love-lorn lyrics will make you feel high: they come from a grounded place. It is not every artist that can make seduction feel based in love rather than lust. When we think of passion, we think of it as a carnivorous desire, but Fenech Soler show that it, by nature, can have a cooler touch. Passion can be effortless in its words and melodies, but feel like a pop-rock parade in its symphonies. Thus, Zilla, especially in its first half, aims to show the bigness of life and love as these entities that we all embody, but have no idea what they mean or how to wield them.
For Fenech Soler , the confusion over how to live should not stop you from celebrating your life, especially through the power of sound that is music. Still, they understand that Fenech Soler has attracted their audiences because of their beautiful observances of life, to which the second half of the album transitions into a quieter vibrance. Right around its middle, Zilla grows more expansive in its synths and winding in its lyrics. If the first half of the album feels like cake, then the second feels like the chillness that overtakes you in a post-sugar rush. This is not to say that the latter half is a slumber party compared to the beginning’s “parade-like” mentality. Yet, it does feel slightly gentler in tone, which I enjoyed. Songs like “Grace”, “Cold Light”, and “Be Someone” sound like electro folk-pop by adding more simmering guitar sonics and thoughtful lyrics. Fenech Soler does well to make the first five songs of the Zilla feel like the flirtations that go between a potential couple in the club, and then they transition you into the deeper conversations that follow such romantic intrigue. By the time, you hear the groovy, glistening beats of “Touch” or the shining vocals of “From Afar” you have gotten a number.
As I write this review, I grow in more admiration for what Fenech Soler has achieved. Zilla, in essence, embodies how you fall in love with life/a person through music. As the world dances around you and rhythms meet the light strobes that criss-cross the floor, all you want is the person in front of you. Not because you need them, but because if life is meant to be enjoyed, then it must be shared. No one needs to have joy and love to survive, but Fenech-Soler’s Zilla shows you that they are necessary to live. You Can Fenech Soler’s Zilla On February 3 By Clicking Here,