Album Reviews

Zella Day – Kicker

Rating: 8/10

I really liked Zella Day’s self-titled EP. With only four songs, she grasped me– “Hypnotic” was incredible, but really, the entire thing flowed perfectly in and out of itself. Her voice is interesting in its deepness, and after having heard the four songs she released prior, I was excited for this debut.

She’s got an interesting sound, almost bohemian, Wild West-inspired in the most bizarre of ways– indie pop with a twist– which immediately draws me in. Though obviously radio-friendly, it’s not Top 40-inspired, which is a nice balance between two similar fake genres.

Her voice is sultry, powerful, and her lyrics are multi-layered, making me forget that she’s only 20, only just starting out, only falling into herself. The album comes across so confident, and it’s infectious. Her vocal range is impressive, as well as her songwriting skills. The complexity and layering of some of the songs are fascinating, and I’m interested to see if this Western-style boho vibe is something that she truly carries with he, or something thatshe’ just experimenting with right now.

The album doesn’t open with any of her singles or EP songs– nor does “Hypnotic” appear until track 6 of the album– a smart move that forces us to listen to more than half of the record before hearing something familiar that we enjoy. Instead, it opens with “Jerome,” a song hating on this guy, who seems like a real piece of work with a real bad name.

Kicker showcases a variety of Day’s dynamic range of stylized songs.  “Mustang Kids,” for example, features Baby E, and rolls with some hip hop/alternative influences. A wild range of songs picking up influences in folk and alternative Western styles, Day is hard to pinpoint. The album was worth getting excited about, and I’m curious to see what other work she’s capable of. Thought it’s definitely not as upbeat or exciting as the EP, with more songs to focus on, it’s a more complete collection that showcases her entire range– from slow, sensual, tragic ballads like “Jameson,” (which is a soft, acoustic recording that fully shows how explosive and gorgeous her voice) and “Shadows Preachers,” a dramatic tune to close your eyes and imagine running through flowers and fields to, to wild pop beats like “Sweet Ophelia” and “High,” one of the singles from the album, that lock in your brain and take over.

Download Kicker by Zella Day on iTunes

About author

Sofie Mikhaylova is a music writer at Live in Limbo and local nobody who spends her time loitering in parking lots and chain smoking. She listens to a lot of music and has an extensive CD collection, which she's spent many a Saturday night reorganizing. Her work has been published in Vice and Noisey, among others. Follow her on Twitter @sofiesucks.