Zola Jesus is an expert at opening herself up, laying everything on the table and unflinchingly asking listeners to observe her viscera. Her 2017 album, Okovi, which takes its name from the Slavic word for “shackles,” does exactly that, written after her return to her rural childhood town of Merrill, Wisconsin and inspired by her real life experiences with anxiety, suicide, and depression. The album is a goth-industrial masterpiece that unapologetically smashes through today’s social media-fueled tendency to present only the most technicolor versions of our lives. On the cusp of a spring European and North American tour with Alice Glass, Zola Jesus has announced an album of Okovi B-sides and remixes entitled Okovi: Additions, due out on April 6th.
In anticipation of this release, her newest single “Bound” is a gritty, sexy track, spurred forward by the same unavoidable momentum that inspires our hearts to pump and our lungs to expand. As the title suggests, the lyrics discuss the inescapable reality that plagues so many in our depression-riddled modern society: “Want to live and wanna die / Rest of us are wasting time / Caught in the middle of our fate.” Zola Jesus acutely describes the treadmill that we often find ourselves on, going through the motions each day without any real purpose. Perhaps it’s due to the solemnity brought on by living and creating in a forest, but Zola Jesus has given voice to an underlying question that has been all but swept under the carpet in our fast-paced and distracted lives. “Bound” is here to remind us to look up from our smartphones and realize what we’re distracting ourselves from.