Zola Jesus provides some incredibly dark, orchestral art pop on her fifth release, Okovi. It opens with the sparse “Doma,” a track featuring droning synths in the background of many layers of vocals. This track, the brief “NMO,” and the more orchestral drum-backed tracks “Half Life” and “Ash to Bone” are this album’s most ambient feeling moments. The standout moments are where the dark mood is shown off through incredibly dense instrumentals. From the heavy opening strings on “Exhumed” to the heavy drums backing “Soak,” many risky ideas are scattered throughout. There’s some anthemic tracks included as well (“Remains” is a synthpop gem!!!) and orchestral ballads such as “Witness” make this release an absolute treat to listen to.

-Stan Standridge