ALBUM REVIEW: Zivi - Lost in Love
Dreamy indie-pop debut arriving just in time for the last vestiges of summer
The evenings are getting darker and the breeze has got a little cooler, but summer is hanging in there – long enough to be the setting for Zivi’s debut album, Lost in Love.
The LA-based songwriter’s songs are, on the whole, befitting of a lazy summer evening, holding a cool drink in the back garden so it’s only right that his LP is released just before the sunglasses and shorts get stowed away for the next half-year.
Chronicling the past decade in which Zivi has found love and found himself, the 11 tracks (or 12 if including the bonus track included on Side A of the cassette version) are pieced together from two recording sessions – one in 2019 with Norah Jones-affiliated, Jason Abraham Roberts, on production and the other post-lockdown with Peter Recine and Kyle Biane at the helm.
Listening to the album in its intended two sides, the first very much leans into the laidback indie-folk, replete with sweet, motivational lyrics, with Side B’s five tracks exploring a more adventurous sonic platter.
Standout single ‘Move Along’ kicks things off with its hushed vocals, characterful guitar from Recine and lyrics about being true to yourself (“if everything you do is from the heart, there is nothing you can do that anyone can say is wrong, don’t give up, move along”. It’s a strong statement with the song comfortably falling into the category of the year’s best.
First single ‘From Paradise’ then glides along with more rudimentary instrumentation as Zivi reminisces about his search for peace. ‘Disappear’ and ‘Midnight Train’ dive deeper into Zivi’s mellow ambience, but less memorably than the opening two tracks, as Side A dips a little and verges on monotony.
Thankfully, fifth track ‘Come On’ lifts the mood, with the electric Koto the standout element of the track. The second chorus refrain takes the intensity up a notch and there’s even some aggressive electric guitar as Zivi shows more focus and sings about wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Side A is rounded off with a short, catchy indie-pop number in ‘Faded’ which features an enjoyable guitar lick and lyrics about confronting hard truths.
Photo credit: Describe the Fauna
Having built up a consistent ‘Zivi’ sound on Side A, the five tracks on Side B then undo this familiarity and demonstrates the artist’s willingness to experiment.
‘Need U Tonight’ is a seven-minute ballad, in which Zivi candidly shares how much he pines for his partner. ‘Way Out’ is a fun toe-tapper which is coolly aloof before exploding into a Wurlitzer-led wall of noise. The one-two of ‘Solidarity’ and ‘Passenger’, however, is the highlight on Side B and the entire album.
X Files-esque keyboards drop in and out of ‘Solidarity’ with its big chorus and most confident vocals in all the album. ‘Passenger’ is the most trippy on the album with its psych vocals and shoegaze-y lyrics (“I need some time to look inside”).
Just when you are thinking Side B Zivi is the Zivi you want to hear from the most, closing track ‘White Ocean’ perhaps reaches too far, with its ‘Lover, You Should Have Come Over’-style organ sound, intermittent brass accompaniment and vague vocals, coming off like an interesting but unfocused piece of jazz.
There’s enough, though, to bring you back to Lost in Love with its solid dreamy indie and memorable hooks, dashed with hopeful, encouraging lyrics, and it’s worth diving in now before autumn properly settles.
Lost in Love is out tomorrow (Friday 15 September) via Numbered Recordings/Mama Mañana Records