[25 February 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
It’s difficult to see Six, Thalia Zedek‘s new record and follow-up to her excellent Via, as a mini-album. It’s only got six tracks, sure, but its 29 minutes are expansive and generous in sound, full of the kind of rich textures supposed full-lengths often lack. The record draws a line back to the power of Via with the full-band “Fell So Hard”, a sweeping, dusty track rippling with guitars and Zedek’s expressive, faintly cracking voice. It’s the most heavily layered track, an interesting gauntlet thrown down, a challenge that leads to more spacious numbers. “Julie Said” stretches out in still space, the band holding back until the song’s tense closing minute. “Dreamalie” beefs up the guitars, but they emphasize the shadows around them much in the way Crazy Horse did. “Flathand” has a gospel/country feel to it, one that shifts away from the overcast feel of the previous songs and towards a fledgling light. But the greatest moment here is the last, the solitary yet epic guitar and voice of “Afloat”. It’s a seeming back and forth between Zedek and the guitar, a conversation between voice and instrument. In an album that digs into relationships and the echoes they leave in our lives, this is the one that Six leaves us with, the one between emotion and the means to express. Despite the mini-album tag, Six is hardly hold-over material. Instead, it’s another fascinating, deeply resonant collection from Zedek and her band.