NEWS: ZELA release new single, Chaos Queen | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Real talk: if a global pandemic can’t stop ZELA, nothing will. Confounded by launching the band weeks before the first UK lockdown hit, North East siblings Liv and Max Griff went inside with the rest of us, honing their craft and perfecting their special brew of dark, imaginative pop.

Firing out a well-honed string of singles across 2020-21 followed by a bunch of raucous live performances, the magnetic duo have become increasingly impossible to ignore.

With all the feel of a wild night out with Charli XCX, Wolf Alice, Doja Cat and Yungblud, ZELA are the whole package: attitude-laced alt. electronic bops brimming with complex, often sublime lyrics and charisma to burn.

New single Chaos Queen is ZELA ascendent; their patented pulsing basslines, distortion-dripping synths and driving electric drums infused with the dark, sexy momentum of their live shows. While lyrical self-awareness has always characterised their songcraft, there’s an angrier, punkier flavour here, the writing and production leaning darker and harder.

Liv simply is the Chaos Queen; an agent of pure, unbridled id. Hedonistic and unapologetic, this is about more than someone shaking off the shackles of expectation (“You want me as your honey bunny bride, but that contractual love is really not my vibe“), it’s a cast-iron promise to fuck you up and relish the chaos if you try and constrain them. When she sings “wreckage is my fetish“, you take the hint.

This is the next step after the Sad Girl genre – when you’ve passed through your Lana Del Rey moment and actualised into a whirlwind of chaos. God forbid someone stepping into that; ain’t no taming a tornado.

With the production as rich and expansive as we’ve come to expect, Liv’s voice is used again as an instrument in itself and hits harder than ever. Gift-wrapped in ever-fuzzier distortion, her vocals hit like a chilling 4am voicemail. Always the lead pilot steering ZELA while Liv is on machine gun duty, Max brings an industrial tang to his drum work, throwing down unabated live and electronic drums in a fierce, pulse-quickening display of their much-loved hybrid style.

The contrast between Chaos Queen and the sun-kissed bubblegum of their previous single, the luminous Sober Lovin’ You, is a stark, thrilling reminder of ZELA’s range and potential. An anthem for the fast-living, hard-loving, life-grabbers out there, Chaos Queen is a riotous window into ZELA’s world.

Chaos Queen is out now. The band play The Forum Music Centre, Darlington on Saturday 14th May.

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