As I awaited Versions, Zola Jesus’ symphonic vox and orchestral pop sensibility were never in question. JG Thirlwell aka Clint Ruin was orchestrating this redux release, though. Thirlwell’s wide-ranging musical prowess as a composer and producer is often underestimated—even by me—because of his association with post-punk outfit Foetus. Can two such cult-superstars successfully collaborate? In Jesus’ and Thirlwell’s case, yes, yes, a thousand times yes. His emotive string-centric arrangements neither compete with nor overshadow her voice but somehow remain at the forefront. Versions finds both artists in their prime, and the resulting album is a must-listen for fans of either (or neither) artist. “Run Me Out,” “Night” and “Hikikomori” are standout revisionings. (Samantha Anne Carrillo)
When it comes to self-proclaimed punk rock, I'm old-school and shallow. If you're gonna have a childishly controversial name, like Nashville's Diarrhea Planet, then play the short, snotty screeds to back it up. Your music needs to either make me laugh or make my cat run from the room, not think that you were imitating the Queers (“Separations,” “Hammer of the Gods”) in between bong hits and rounds of Rock Band in the rumpus room. I want you obnoxious, not cranking out halfway-decent Weezer knockoffs (“The Sound of my Ceiling Fan,” “Kids”). Is this metal-washed pop-punk, though? Absolutely, and reminiscent of fellow not-really-punk Nashvillians/
This wasn’t the album I expected. As a rabid fan of Factory Floor’s 2010 untitled release, I guess I was anticipating more of a “Lying,” “16-
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