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ZEROPOLIS - 1000 WALLS

WE REVIEW THE NEW ALBUM FROM ZEROPOLIS

Conjuring drama from conceptual themes of ennui and weathered dissatisfaction is a difficult task for any artist, let alone inspiring hope and solidarity amidst the contemporary swirl of cultural inertia, but London post-punk duo Zeropolis have been unleashing smoggy blasts of synth-soaked darkwave spiked with industrial muscle scoring political failure and tech anxiety since 2020’s self-titled EP. Embittered by the austerity ruin blighting working-class communities both in the UK and their native France, Gigi and Coco’s mission objective to wrestle the dance out of the dread soldiers on fractiously with their debut LP 1000 Walls.

Adorned with Ballardian collage on their album cover and references to Alphaville and David Graeber’s ‘bullshit jobs’ theory, Zeropolis pursue a distinctly dystopian vision for the city that serves as a stark flashpoint for their thematic concerns of societal decline. 

ZEROPOLIS - 1000 WALLS

‘Dogfight’ distils their knack for brash EBM and stirring guitar attacks the duo’s known for, given extra bruising heft by hardcore musician Jonah Falco’s mixing duties, while ‘Alphaville’ illustrates their aggro-electro solidarity most starkly, a combative synth pummeller bristling with abrasive punk strut that scores the song’s ‘call to arms’ rather than nihilistic wallow with passionate intensity.

1000 Walls‘ cinematic opener ‘Dominion’ explores ubiquitous authority with a greater reach of evocative theatre the album medium affords, cavernous clangour and defiant mantras of “power, survival, quality, control” bellowed with full chest suffusing Nitzer Ebb’s primal chant lyrical approach inspiring resistance against society’s atomisation and deep divisions.

In Zeropolis’ efforts to ensure their darkwave assault’s accessibility, they can dilute their potential for corrosive bite. ‘Dance’s’ skulking groove and glacial keys thrust the band into sonic territory shared by the darkwave genre’s many derivatives and lack the album’s otherwise immersive textures, and ‘Social Jet Lag’ chugs along toothlessly with warped laughter that feels lifted from a haunted house attraction rather than an affecting piece of post-punk. 

Building on their established brew of feverish electronic rock and seeking new creative directions to heighten the sense of drama in their work, Zeropolis present a debut album full of belligerent vigour and acerbic snarl that the album’s undercooked moments never cancel out.

With enough fire in its belly and no lack of potent political fuel within the contemporary tumult, 1000 Walls is less an explosive debut and more a foreboding signal of a darker, more acrid second act to follow.

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