Picking up where Lotus Child left off

Three years ago, Lotus Child seemed to be on the verge of a major breakthrough. The group’s sound combined hooky piano rock with disco-infused new wave, and its 2006 album, Gossip Diet, earned the band a loyal local following. Widespread success eluded the band, however, and it quietly broke up last year.

Singer/guitarist Zachary Gray and pianist Tom Dobrzanski have reformed under the moniker the Zolas and have released a teaser EP, which consists of three songs that will appear on their debut album, Tic Toc Tic, due out this fall via 604 Records. Given that the two principle members are the same, it’s not a surprise that there is a distinct similarity between the two groups; based on three songs currently available, the Zolas are more stylistically adventurous, with songs that feature unexpected changes in tone and tempo. Opener “You’re Too Cool” begins as angular piano rock, soon giving way to an R&B-infused refrain sung in Gray’s impressively glass-shattering falsetto. The song changes pace once more, bursting into a brash arena pop bridge with ’60s girl group backing vocals.

The EP’s two remaining songs are equally as dynamic: “The Great Collapse’ is driven by jaunty arpeggios, which contrast against Gray’s bittersweet lyrics (“Free what you love ’cause it’s gonna die anyway / Those golden days will be fossilized endlessly”). “Marlaina Kamikaze” is a tense, unsettling breakup song which swells to a bouncy chorus with group sung call-and-response vocals. It’s a catchy tune, building off the strengths of Lotus Child but with a darker and more challenging sound. It’s tough to develop too much of an opinion about a band with a recorded output of only three songs, but this is a promising start for the Zolas.
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