Zola Jesus Relies on Trusty “Compass” for Gale-Force Anthem

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 02.05.15 in News

Zola Jesus‘s 2014 album, Taiga, looks in hindsight like a potential transition. Nika Rosa Danilova has always had a towering voice, but on her Mute debut she increasingly shifted her eerie gothic ambience toward her desire, as she told Pitchfork, “to make a huge pop song that would break in and reach people I’ve never been able to reach.” Though highlights such as “Dangerous Days (which to me recalls the late Christian Falk’s song for Robyn, 2006′s “Dream On”) satisfied on those new terms, at other times Taiga matched neither the populist appeal of someone like Rihanna — a cited influence — nor the cult-friendly gloom and nuance of earlier songs such as 2010′s “Night,” which was still frankly something of an anthem.

“Compass,” a B-side from Taiga‘s new “Hunger” digital single, suggests lyrically and musically she knows which way she’s going. “Look to the eye of the storm,” she booms on the chorus. It’s a sleek, galloping song, definitely of a piece with the rest of the album, but the philosophical uncertainty in the verses is to me a bit more appealing than the motivational undercurrent to its A-side. “Just want something to believe in/ Bigger than you and me,” she repeats at the beginning. That voice is the lodestar — if being in the eye of the storm makes it hard to see the sky, well, she has “Compass.”

Danilova said of the songs in a statement: “‘Hunger’ is about the mania of trying to experience life before it’s over… constantly scraping and racing to figure out the proper course for existence. ‘Compass,’ on the other hand, is about falling back and trusting your intuition. It’s like the resolution to the blinding passion of ‘Hunger.’ ‘Compass’ feels triumphant because in a sense it is – it’s the freedom of giving up control and letting yourself live without giving too much thought to it. Where ‘Hunger’ is tense and erratic, ‘Compass’ is loose and euphoric.”

Listen to “Compass” below and scroll down for the “Hunger” video, plus Zola Jesus tour dates.

2/6 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
2/7 Las Vegas, NV – Bunkhouse
2/8 Santa Ana, CA – Constellation Room
2/20 Cuauhtémoc, MEX – Sala
3/10 Berlin, DEU – Schwuz
3/11 Copenhagen, DNK – Vega
3/12 Lund, SWE – Mejeriet
3/13 Stockholm, SWE – Kagelbanan
3/14 Göteborg, SWE – Pustervik
3/16 Prague, CZE – Meet Factory
3/17 Vienna, AUT – Wuk
3/18 Budapest, HUN – A38
3/20 Zagreb, HRV – Factory Culture
3/21 Dornbirn, AUT – Conrad Sohm
3/23 Padova, ITA – Mame
3/24 Rome, ITA – Teatro Quirinetta
3/25 Milan, ITA – Tunnel Club
3/26 Ravenna, ITA – Bronson
3/27 Zurich, CHE – M4 Music