“Give It Up” by Zelienople

Dreamlike and absorbing, 'Give It Up' is the pinnacle of Zelienople's output to date.


Chicago-based three piece Zelienople have been around for quite a while now, and in that time have become staples in the underground music architecture. Percussionist Mike Weis has appeared on recent recordings with alt-folk legend Scott Tuma; Weis, Tuma and guitarist/vocalist Matt Christensen form the band Good Stuff House. Despite all this activity, their passion still lies in Zelienople. Multi-instrumentalist Brian Harding completes the trio which has forged its most essential work to date with ‘Give It Up’, a record which succeeds as a perfect summation of their progress in the last few years.

With previous albums the band have garnered no shortage of comparisons to Talk Talk, Slowdive and Bark Psychosis, and while these comparisons still stand, here Zelienople have pushed the influences into the background to reveal a daring and fresh sound. Poppier than its predecessor ‘His/Hers’, ‘Give It Up’ is a collection of rolling songs, from the Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore-esque opener ‘Aging’ to the doomed Americana of ‘All I Want Is Calm’ and the hazy ambience of ‘Water Saw’. As we pass through the effortless percussive shuffle and dream-like riffing of ‘I Can Put All My Faith In Her’, perhaps the closest the band have ever come to writing a pop song, it’s hard not to fall under their spell. It is a record with scope and an enviable restraint, and a record which revels in the band’s experience and pedigree.

There is a feeling that the three musicians don’t need to prove anything, and in that we are treated to an album of crystalline, mysterious beauty; it is something which might take multiple listens to truly uncover, but a record which is infinitely rewarding once you do. Cinematic, but startlingly unpretentious, this is music perfectly primed for the colder seasons. Light a log fire and enjoy.