Keefy’s mashed up reviews – Eels, The Zolas & Early Cartographers

The Early Cartographers kick off The Wolf Chorus EP with ‘In the Old Days’ which has a lovely familiar feel and sits as comfortable as your favourite overcoat.

The immediate sense is of thoughtful song construction and purpose. There are some heartfelt vocals yearning for times past. And a nice trumpet.

‘Counterfeits’ however has a slightly more ‘wolfish‘( sorry) feel despite a jaunty banjo and piano accordion. The final offering ‘Telegraphs from Utopia’ is a little more complicated, haunting and a fine piece of work.

 Make no mistake these are quality tunes. Some may make comparisons with early Beirut but this talented bunch are from Sheffield and this offering is, as they say, ‘reight gud’.

The Zolas, however, are lost in the woods. Ancient Mars is their new offering. There is nothing wrong with this album but conversely nothing right. Kicking off with the promising ‘In Heaven’ then following ‘Knot in my Heart’ has a great riff and catchy chorus.

Sadly after a promising start the rest of the album drifts away into a kind of ‘Indie Wasteland’. There are moments that prove that The Zolas are not dead in the water but I am left wondering why Cats:from:Peru didn’t get a chance to show their talents!

Anyhow, The Zolas would do well to pay attention to Mark Everett. EELS show no signs of complacency or mediocrity. ‘Wonderful Glorious’ emits the lyric “I’ve had enough of being complacent”. Time and experience has not diminished Everett’s intensity and the thirteen tracks here are testimony to his clear vision and cutting observations on love and life and the downbeat loser vibe is again detailed in sharp focus.

Solid riffs trade places with heartbroken howls, swampy pop trades places with alt-pop riffs in the usual chronicles of tortured emotions and pent up frustrations. Fans will be well pleased.

Words: Keefy

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