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Veterans of the sprawling Chicago music scene, Zelienople have carved out a unique sound over their enviable slew of releases. ‘The World is a House on Fire’ is the latest chapter in the band’s story, and frames their music more succinctly than ever before. Mike Weis (percussion), Matt Christensen (vocals, guitar) and Brian Harding (bass, saxophone) managed to perfect brooding, melancholy doom pop on their last full length ‘Give It Up’, and this latest LP finds the band in a lighter mood.
The trio have utilized dream pop tropes before, but in the first bars of opener ‘The Southern’ there is no doubt that the haunted Americana of the bands previous has been swathed in a haze of drifting synthesizer tones and echoing organ drones (played by occasional member Donn Ha). The simplistic beauty of Slowdive and early Verve is distilled to a vapour as it drifts into Christensen’s characteristic vocals and Weis’s soft, subtle percussion. This isn’t pop music, but the skeletons of pop are just about audible, enshrined in something far more beautiful and much more delicate.
‘The World is a House on Fire’ is a blissful and utterly enveloping addition to the Zelienople canon, and while it might be more subtle than their previous records, it stays with you more than you might expect. Haunting doesn’t even begin to describe it…