ZOMES - Love’s Lesson

LP a co-release between Feedingtube Records and Near Unison. 


Fifth vinyl album (there have been four cassettes as well) by this Baltimore-based duo with international roots. Zomes began as a solo project by Asa Osbourne (ex-Lungfish, The Pupils), and recorded mostly solo drone-based instrumentals for several years. While performing at a festival in Stockholm, Asa met vocalist Hanna Olivegren, who shared his musical conceptions. Zomes’s first record as a duo was 2013’s Time Was (Thrill Jockey), and they have remained a two-piece ever since.

The music on Love’s Lesson is largely built around Asa’s simple keyboard washes and drum box, atop which Hanna’s vocals stroll like Little Red Riding Hood walking through the Black Forest. The overall effect is beautiful and lulling, with a dream pop vibe very much in line with Kendra Smith’s monumental 1995 album, Five Ways of Disappearing.

Spare and otherworldly, additional possible comparisons can be made to Young Marble Giants or Damon & Naomi. Zomes’s material shares the same sort of genteel literary feel those combos broadcast. Something about the pacing at which the vocals are presented makes them feel weighted with promise, and this heft carries over to the instrumentation as well. There’s no fat or excess to the music’s skeleton. Hanna’s voice carries the full range of Love’s Lesson‘ melodic content, but it’s the rich harmonic range of Asa’s keys (and maybe guitar in one spot?) that give the whole its ghostly weight and depth.

A brilliant record that delivers an unending stream of warm electric shocks. 

-Byron Coley, 2023