One of Vancouver’s most prominent, and genre-bending bands, The Zolas, announces their upcoming Canadian tour “Come Back To Life”, which includes a stop at Hamilton’s Bridgeworks, presented by Supercrawl. The tour is named after their upcoming album Come Back To Life, which is set for release on July 16, 2021 via Light Organ Records.
Written and recorded in BC, the new album is fuelled by ’90s-era British rock / pop vibes, and infused with stories that touch on the personal to political. It’s also a testament to their creative output and consistent drive for a new, fresh and forward facing sound. With provinces (and venues) opening up, and the appetite for live music through the roof — the band is more than eager to get back on the road and showcase their new tunes.
“When we had to delay touring for a year nobody knew how performing this album would feel in a post-pandemic world,” says frontman Zachary Gray. “But, as it turns out, songs about suddenly realizing that your whole world is built on a foundation of genocide, fantasizing about buying a one-way ticket somewhere and disappearing, feeling the climate apocalypse at our doorstep, getting bodied out of your city by a real estate bubble, long term relationship angst, waking up to the violence of global inequality, and falling in love with someone incredible have aged pretty well.”
In 2016, The Zolas released their Juno-nominated, and critically acclaimed breakthrough LP Swooner. The follow up – featuring a new direction for the band – was planned for 2020 Yet, like with so many of their contemporaries, COVID-19 led The Zolas to pivot and instead they launched a new campaign they dubbed “Z Days” which promised fans a new single on the second of each month. True to their word, the band shared five singles last year. The series kicked off in June with “Energy Czar” which was followed by July’s “Come Back To Life” and “Ultramarine” in August. September saw the band unveil “Wreck Beach/Totem Park.” and October’s “I Feel The Transition” entered the US Submodern chart at #22, and was added to rotation at several stations across Canada.
From the far-flung shores of British Columbia and two decades too late for the cover of Select magazine, The Zolas prove with Come Back to Life that you can take a step back to move forward.
“In our jam space we started fucking around with this nostalgic vibe: like a warped memory of the Britpop music we obsessed over as kids but never got to make,” says Gray. “Eventually it seemed obvious we had to follow that feeling and make an album of it. I had just come off a long period of writing pop music for other people [including “L.A. Hallucinations” from Carly Rae Jepsen’s critically acclaimed album Emotion] and a co-writing trip in Europe [with artists such as Starsailor’s James Walsh] and it was a spiritual thing to be in a dank room playing loud with our band again.”
Gray describes Come Back to Life as a collision between the soundtracks for Danny Boyle’s culture-jamming Trainspotting and Baz Luhrmann’s radical re-imagining of Romeo + Juliet. “This is the 21st century heir to those soundtracks,” he declares. But for all the swaggeringly self-confident vocals and soaring wonderwall guitars on epics like “Yung Dicaprio” and “Miles Away”, the Zolas aimed for more than carbon copying a classic sound.
“There’s so many sounds we love that came out of the mid-’90s UK: britpop and acid-house and trip-hop, all carrying on in parallel scenes. If felt right to cross-pollinate this album with all of that,” Gray says. “So we’d write simple songs in our jam space and then steal sounds from the Prodigy or Primal Scream or the Happy Mondays or Tricky whenever it felt good.”
While Come Back to Life is an unrepentantly joyful sonic love letter to a magical time, the Zolas aren’t afraid to get serious on the lyrical side of things. the album touches on everything from waking up to Canada’s appalling treatment of its First Nations (“Wreck Beach/Totem Park”) to global wealth disparity (“I Feel the Transition”) to artists being priced out of the cities they’ve helped make great (“Bombs Away”). Consider, then, Come Back to Life being inspired by the past on multiple levels, quite rightly making the Zolas thrilled about the band’s future.