Released: 8th June 2018
Zeal & Ardor’s ‘Devil Is Fine’ was held together with string. Six tracks, three interludes and a whole lot of ideas, it flirted with something a lot bigger but wasn’t quite sure what path to take.
‘Stranger Fruit’ sees Zeal & Ardor arrive. From the fizzing swell of the opening track to the aching collapse of ‘Built On Ashes’, the band embrace and explore every avenue. Powerful in every decision, deliberate in every move, the record makes everything count. It’s urgent, driven by a need to show-off just how wide this world reaches, but never hurries. There’s a confidence to the shadows. A trust that this tale is one you’re going to stick with.
‘Row Row’ falls to its knees, screaming at the moon and fighting off demons before stadium breakdowns lift it higher. ‘You Ain’t Coming Back’ serenades from the unseen, “don’t let anybody tell you that you’re safe,” sings the sugary warning over swaying snaps. The title track can’t decide which way it wants to fall, but there’s an intense beauty in that struggle.
Full of colour, and letting each shade run, ‘Stranger Fruit’ is a masterpiece of excess and control. Ali Shutler