Zilla With Her Eyes Shut releases her debut self-titled record, creating an eclectic and wonderful world to let truly go of your senses.
UK avant-pop artist Zilla With Her Eyes Shut really knows how to let go. Starting off life as a classical pianist, she seems to have manoeuvred the perfect 180, now lending her talents to eclectically-constructed and zany experimental pop, accompanied by a side dish of electronica and finishing off with ample pop and RnB beats. If this piques your curiosity, Zilla’s self-titled debut offers a platform for her ideas based on personal stories of childhood traumas, sleepwalking injuries and the voices in her head. Interested? Read on.
Opening with the bold and menacing Get Ready, we’re immediately thrown into avant-garde electronica as raw, fuzzy synths, gently envelop Zilla’s pop-laden vocals. The layering works well with the track debuting the eclectic and experimentalist sound that evolves throughout the album. Second track The Sleepwalker delves even deeper into Zilla’s unconscious…literally. Based around the artist’s own sleepwalking adventures and even featuring her own ‘sleeptalking’, the track takes on an almost dub vibe at times, laced with heavy beats, deft vocal work and a penchant for the strange. It does well to delve into the singer’s fears as she opens up about anything and everything these night terrors can bring out in her: “I’m scared of who I might become if I never wake.”
Remember brings a more electro-goth-pop flavour into the record with a haunting vocal track that relies on an almost jungle drumbeat to bounce the track forward. It feels as though it’s based on the personal transformation of the singer, as she shouts out “Trust me when I say I’ve been born again”, perhaps bringing up her classical pianist past and the u-turn to the music she performs today. In My Head then allows Zilla’s vocals to breathe a little more, being the clearest and enjoyable on the record and showing off a nice range of emotion amongst a heavy, synthy riff.
If you thought the record would settle into its groove as it goes on, you couldn’t be more wrong. Zilla has gone the opposite way here, lulling the listener into a false sense of security before upping the zany ideas and pushing more into the experimental. Cut Me Boy delves into off-kilter timings, staccato samples and playful vocals to build the haunting track around, whereas Rainbows may be softer on the surface, but grows through varied ideas, angelic backing vocals and video-game synths.
Whisper Whisper brings a degree of insanity and honesty to the mix as Zilla declares “I have an imaginary friend, he talks to me out of the blue” amongst caressing whispers and a drum n bass mentality, ebbing and flowing as backing vocals rise and fall throughout. The record then ends on the delirious Paris, a goth-pop monolith with child-like vocals and hypnotising layers that ends in a dream-like state as it fades slowly to nothingness.
The debut album from Zilla With Her Eyes Shut is a mesmerising flow of ideas, eccentricities and sonic soundscapes. Far from being as random as it appears, it feels very connected throughout, with Zilla managing to adapt her vocals to the right tones and pace throughout to match the flow of each track. The record coaxes your subconscious to come out and play and makes for an original and playful debut.