ZOLA danced to the rhythms of bossa nova and indie-pop on her last single “Crystal Floors,” which created an immediate, and hopeless sonic attraction for listeners. On “Don’t Eat,” the title track from the San Francisco-based artist’s upcoming debut album via KidinaKorner/Universal Records, there seems to be less frolicsome hills to dance on.
Displaying a darker feature with ghostly layers, “Don’t Eat” is penned luck, from fear. Assembled from ZOLA’s dismay of being “eaten whole” by those in the music industry, which came right before she signed a record deal, the artist’s fear pulls out hope in the smallest places of isolation.
“The opening verse was inspired by a story told by one of my family friends,” says ZOLA in a press release. “Back in her L.A. home, she would leave crystals out in her garden for fairies to come and fetch them and it is said that that brings good luck to the home and the garden. I loved that concept and decided to go along with it.”
Primarily acoustic in its arrangement, with a slow build toward an electronic peak, the minimalistic choice tightens the view finder on ZOLA’s songwriting. The story blows in the wind like a lost fable trying to go home, all while ZOLA maintains a bewitching perspective.
The mesh of harmonies between verses softens the blow of ZOLA’s slow plea to not be eaten (“I hope I come back”), tugging on anxious vocal runs. There is a haunt that lingers her luminous vocals, yet are so well formed you trust where you’re going. And despite the disturbing notion, each rustic chord beautifully builds for ZOLA’s return.