Fronted by cousins and native New Yorkers Henry and Nate Terepka on guitars, vocals, and keyboards, and backed by Pablo Eluchans and Mike Lawless on bass and drums, respectively, Zula is a case in curious and, perhaps, imaginary unique musical contrasts. The songs on the four-piece’s recently released album This Hopeful can be accessibly melodic, yet elusive enough in their studied experimentation, the production is tight and exact throughout, reminiscent of Radiohead’s developing sound with Nigel Godrich, yet their compositions are every bit as colorful and varied as those of pre-Forgiveness Broken Social Scene, and they’re a rock band, to be sure, yet atmosphere and ambiance electronics figure largely in their sound, which for its part is minimal yet lushly evocative and modern, similar in spirit to post-Soft Bulletin/approaching-Yoshimi-era Flaming Lips.
Moreover, the Terepkas and Co. don’t shy away from range, even as they draw — in a rather indirect way — from a seemingly wide variety of sources for their music on This Hopeful, and, forgetting comparisons and references, this is what makes them so distinct. For lack of a better word, this is pop, sincere, offbeat, and playfully and unassumingly experimental: you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone else that sounds like them, or as musically and effectively fulfilling.
Listen to Zula’s This Hopeful below and you be the judge: