If last time out Zialand’s single Landslide dealt in slick and sultry electro-pop, here she takes a more naturalistic route. No less cool and soulful, Shelter is closer to the soul ballads of old than the more cutting edge sonic landscape she wandered through before. But her way is to reference rather than repeat and both singles mark points along a pathway that shows a modern artist using everything available to her to make timeless, classic sounding songs.
The tone is late night smoky cocktail bar, the delivery unrushed and all the more powerful for it, the vocals wander between strong and emotive, and ethereal and breathy. There is as much space and atmosphere between the piano notes that drive the song as within them and the beats and backing serve only the song and nothing more. Gentle brass builds and Hammond swells are merely the icing on the cake.
This is music out of time, production may pin point it as a modern creation but its essence is the sort of ballad that has been played for 60 or so years, in blues joints and jazz clubs, uptown bars and down town cafes across the world. As always Zialand makes music that exists devoid of fashion or agenda, it is pure and perfect. It isn’t every day that I get to sign off a review with a statement like that!