Album: Joy Zipper

The Stereo and God, 13 AMP
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The Independent Culture

Joy Zipper's American Whip album was scuppered earlier this year by the collapse of 13 Amp's distribution deal with Ministry of Sound. It has been rescheduled for release next February, but until then, this six-track mini-album makes for an intriguing stopgap. Working with US indie production Svengali Kramer, Zipper duo Vincent Cafiso and Tabitha Tindale have devised a kind of narcotised, summery indie-pop which blends lissom harmonies with the methodical thrumming of guitars and understated organ tints. With Tindale's disingenuous, deadpan-cute vocals to the fore, the effect is akin to Mazzy Star, or Galaxie 500 fronted by Alison from Cranes - an effect most effective on "If I'm Right", which blows in like early Bowie, with piercing lead guitar laced over glam-rock chords. It's the first of several songs offering sly commentaries on relationships: "If you're right, I tell you every day," claims Tabitha, "But if I'm right, oh well, you wouldn't listen anyway". With deceptive, dancing harmonies spun around its lead vocal line, the hypnotic "Window" confronts the compulsion to alter one's partner - "You came when my life was perfect/ Changed me to somebody else/ Since then, nothing seems to matter" - while both "1" and "2 Dreams I Had" use organic, elemental metaphors to convey the emotional dislocation of break-up: "The sun that warmed you then/ Now burns your empty heart." Delightful.