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Now Hear This: Zaritza - Zaritza

Rating: **1/2

Zaritza has an interesting story. She emigrated from Russia to the U.S. in pursuit of a career in music and ended up doing all sorts of stuff from opening for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and even speaking at an independently organized TedTALK.

She calls New Jersey her home these days and has spent the last several years performing all over the northeastern portion of the country.

She released a self-titled record in September that's apparently filled with rock, electronic, and pop influences galore. She loves the band Queen, so even if this isn't any good, she has good taste.

Let's check it out.

Listen to "Zaritza" on Bandcamp below:

The album starts with "That Girl" and it's not the theme song from the 60's sitcom of the same name. That would have been a trip, though. It's got a cool electronic backbeat. Honestly, this is kinda weak. It sounds very 80's in the not good way. Let's see what's next here. Whoa. It's actually a cover of Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box." Wasn't expecting that. It's actually pretty good. She gives it the Tori Amos treatment here and it works well for her. Pleasantly surprised. "Diseased" is track three and we are back to 80's-sounding rock. It's not dreadful, but it's not changing the world either. "Flashing Lights" is a better song when compared to the other originals so far. It's not especially captivating, but melodically it's leaps beyond what we've heard so far. It kinda reminds me of that band Vixen from the 80's. Does anybody remember that band? They were pretty tight. Anyways, track five is "Somewhere In Between" and it's a stripped down ballad of sorts. Vocally it's strong. It sounds like Berlin. That's not a bad thing. "Walk Away" is another good track and we're picking up a little steam here in the middle of the album. I can't help but think that if these tunes were in a different order, the album would sound more cohesive. "Rocket Girl" is track seven and it's decent. It's not gonna stand out in a crowd but it's pretty and pleasant. She can really sing, but a lot of these songs just don't capture it. "Burn Into Me" is trying to be earnest but it comes off kinda cheesy, while "Talk Show Host" seems like it would be campy, but it's got loads of honest vulnerability that the track just prior lacked. Probably my favorite song on the album. Really good. "Last Night" is a basic ballad. It's a similar story here. The album ends with "Crossroads" and it's sung in Russian. It adds a layer of honesty to her vocals and really makes the tune fly. Good ending to a mixed bag record.

I can't help but think that this record could have been a lot more. It's not bad, but it falls just short of being good also. Zaritza is a solid vocalist, and the production is strong, but it never really pushes into that "damn, this is really good" area. That's not to say there isn't some good songs here, there's just not enough of them to get a recommendation from me.

Keep up with Zaritza here:




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