Marcello and Stefano, two self-professed farm boys from the fields of northern Italy, have taken a bit of a break from their many bands and projects to concentrate on a two-man riff-oriented entity they've dubbed Zolle (derived from the Italian word zòlla, meaning clump). For the past year, Marcello (guitars) and Stefano (drums/percussion) have worked tirelessly to create an instrumental album that not only encompasses many of the avant-garde principles learned from their past efforts but also appeals to the groovy, laid back tastes of the stoner/doom rock community. And so it is that Zolle, the band's eponymous debut release, delivers an Imperial ton of blurry riffs and a large drum sound - not to mention a few touches of tasteful synth atmospherics.
It can be argued - as I have often done - that an album without a vocal presence provides little more than chamber music for whatever activities the listener(s) might wish to engage in. That certainly holds true for Zolle, but it would be a mistake to allow such a thing to happen to this album without first taking the time to focus on identifying its intricacies and experiencing the variation among the songs. Although only 28 minutes long, in my opinion making it more of an EP than a full-length, the album is mostly pure head-bobbing delight thanks to Marcello's conscientious attention to his multi-tracked guitar harmonies and seamless riff patterns.
As with most instrumental albums, it's difficult to settle upon songs that really stand apart from the rest and are thus worthy of mentioning in detail. Zolle does, however, contain a couple of exceptions. While the vast majority of the riffs on the album are soothing in a fuzzy sort of way, the song "Forko" is constructed primarily upon the notion of discordance and abstraction. Marcello applies a liberal portion of pinch harmonics to his performance, while Stefano seems stubbornly reluctant to settle into a single time signature. It's not that "Forko" is complete chaos, but compared to the righteous groove that possesses most of Zolle, this song feels oddly misplaced.
Aside from that particular track, Zolle exists primarily to shake loose the clods of dirt from your boots and help lift those late-afternoon cold brews. The guitar sound exhibited on "Heavy Letam", arguably the grooviest song on the album, for some reason reminds me of the theme from Batman (the classic television series, kiddies, not the movies). The use of what I imagine are farm implements as percussive accents is a nice touch, as are the spacey synth contributions. The synth atmosphere is actually at its best during the waning moments of album closer "Moongitruce". A classy, slightly psychedelic way to round out what I wish was a lengthier release.
Zolle, the band, isn't interested in turning the world of heavy rock on its side with their debut album. They've put together a collection of songs that, quite simply, they enjoy playing. And in the end, shouldn't that be the origin of every album? If you're looking for a soundtrack for the next time you raise a pint, light one up, or just drive from here to there, give Zolle a try.
|5||Man Ja To Ya!||2:33|