Zelienople – Hold You Up

Hold You Up swims in a pool of reverb, but its waters are acidic, because Zelienople’s songs slowly decay. Showing itself to be a distant relative of pop (probably an unmet cousin living on the other side of the country), Hold You Up is infused with a dark Americana, its still-bleeding vocals entangled in a handful of tranquil, mesmeric loops.

The music is eroding all the time, dying all the time, even as its zen-like looping is sustained; a loop is an eternal sound, but a voice will always sail into the distance. Mausoleum-old lyrics are flecked with an infectious rust and fingerprints of grime. The instrumentation is raw, thrilling and electric, but also dulled by the numbing anaesthetic of the loop and its continuation, a sedation through sound. The music holds something earthy and rich within its palms; music of and from soil.

Vocalist Matt Christensen has been involved in many singer/songwriter, experimental, and ambient projects. Percussionist Mike Weis – a student of Korean Shaman and Buddhist music – strongly influences the shape of the sound, too, while Brian Harding provides the groundwork on bass, steadying everything, holding it up, tying music to the earth and not making an allowance for any kind of elevation. Bass is often understated, but these lines are crucial to the album’s overall mood. It gives the music important roots, edging it closer to post-rock with a wider, instrumental lens.

The music appears both dream-like and hypnotic, engaged in an inescapable trance. A light distortion helps to advance the erosion, even as sunless melodies cycle and turn and Christensen’s voice levitates as if in a fog-drenched void. Cymbals offer brief solar flares and transient excitements, but the distortion is still there, hanging around like death itself, a tight grip on the shoulder, waiting for the final corrosion.

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