Zoe Koul review by Vince Leigh
Melbournite Zoe Koul’s debut release, Time To Fly, was an accessible mature pop semi-ballad that reached #3 on the Triple J Unearthed Pop Charts.
The 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s second single, Cry, is a similarly charged pop experience. However, it’s one that’s perhaps a little more serious-minded and self-reflective.
As Zoe has said about the lyric:
“The song serves as a positive reminder to be in touch with our emotions when it seems easier to bury them. And that we should keep believing in ourselves, even when things are tough.”
Who can argue with that?
The style here is not the balladeering appeals of Time To Fly. Instead, it’s a more measured kind. Written during the COVID-19 lockdown, Cry is that all-too-familiar meditation on anxiety and adversity. It’s a self-diagnosis that ultimately leads to a particular type of awareness.
As Zoe says about Cry’s origins:
“It was written as a personal reminder that there is no shame in being vulnerable and asking for help. In fact, there is beauty and strength in it!”
Zoe Koul’s array of sonic touches
Comprising an array of contemporary sonic touches—the voice effects, sparse programming, the obligatory 808—Cry manages to sound unfiltered and sophisticated while maintaining an equally multi-faceted dynamic. It eschews the obvious hooks for a more tranquil form of melodic strength. The weighty subject matter efficiently mirrors the deliberation revealed by the production, instrumentation, and, of course, Zoe’s self-asserting performance.
The song aims high, and for the most part, it achieves a certain level of R&B fused pop eloquence that belies Zoe’s age. The arrangement deviates from the norm somewhat, proceeding from the dusky bridge into an ending that resists a chorus out repeat, going for a looser, adlib like approach.
When asked about her ambitions, Zoe says:
“My biggest goal with my music is for people to resonate with the uplifting and introspective topics that guide my lyrics and melodies.”
Cry will undoubtedly attract streams and plays and help solidify Zoe Koul’s profile.