When singer-songwriter Chloe Drallos first premiered her music project known as Zilched in 2018, she self-ascribed her own genre of “doom pop.”
While arguably cryptic, it also somehow perfectly fits.
The music of Zilched is a murky mix of brooding guitars and catchy, haunting choruses, while moody minor keys and drapes of distortion envelop lyrics of disenchantment sung in a low, beautifully dusky voice that could soar into higher ranges and still retain its bittersweetness.
The bitter and the sweet, the doom and the pop, the low and the high. You hear the name Zilched and it suggests depletion — or perhaps millennial nihilism — but what Drallos is after is much more expansive.
Tangentially, the overall sound and production for her dulcet gloom ballads are expanded and refined on her latest album, Earthly Delights, due to her collaboration with producers Ben Collins and Ian Ruhala. Drallos is tapping into styles that are typically associated with angst — goth, noise-pop or post-grunge — and the angst portrayed on Earthly Delights is the strain of existing within a volatile vortex between those dichotomies.
Watch the music video for Zilched “The Flood”
There are sentiments strung across the record that admit to a yearning but still acknowledge a certain hopelessness. Drallos is singing from a balancing point between desolation and delight, if not some kind of divine. And maybe that’s a way to interpret the “zilch” of Zilched — the zero balance between the muck and the marvelous of living and loving and losing and learning.
“It’s the plight of the yearning / To build up a wall and then watch it decay / It’s all tragedy / But it’s what you love,” Drallos sings on “(You Love) The Tragedy.”
Oh, the angst. No one does it better than Zilched. Earthly Delights is Drallos’ best album to date.
It’s worth noting that the album’s title is a reference to a famous painting by Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch, which was painted as a triptych — the Garden of Earthly Delights is essentially in dimensional balance between heaven and hell.
And while there are some provocative religious references scattered across the record, it’s all about the balance of that triptych that makes it feel like the perfect allusion for a Zilched album title.
More: Listen to Zilched perform live in Studio A on CultureShift
Zilched will celebrate the release of ‘Earthly Delights’ this Saturday at El Club in Detroit. Tickets are $17 and available at elclubdetroit.com.