Album Review: Zoe and Zara – The Introduction

Zoe and Zara 'The Introduction'

Zoe and Zara Paul are twins sisters from Bedford, a town in Bedfordshire, England but are currently based in London. They formed their indie Jazz/Soul group together back in 2011, Zara having already established herself in the Jazz scene in London, from 2009, while Zoe was performing in theatre, securing an ‘Outstanding Performance’ award in 2010, at the Leatherhead Drama Festival. The sisters appeared on the short lived ITV game show, Babushka, hosted by Rylan Clark-Neal in an effort to earn money to help produce their EP, and you can see a short clip of them on the show by clicking here. Today, however, I will be reviewing their album ‘The Introduction’ which was released in 2017.

‘The Introduction’ does exactly what the title says, it acts as a very playful and teasing introduction to the album and show off instantly both singers wonderful voices supported perfectly by the jazz beat. I liked it song alot, particularly a little piano trill that pops up towards the end which I just thought was excellent.

‘Weather Is Golden’ opens differently from the previous track with strings instead of horns, but it’s still a tight intro that just has the air of some top club performance. ‘Weather is Golden’ might be my favourite on the track, something about it just gels really well with me. I have a habit when doing these reviews of finding one song that I keep going back to and for ‘The Introduction’ that was this track.

‘Whisper’ changes up the intro style again, an almost rock inspired melody, an excellent little riff that goes really well with the vocals of Zoe and Zara, it manages to sound very distinct without sounding disconnected. Like ‘Weather is Golden’ this track just works, Zoe and Zara know their sound and they know how to do it well. Everything has the eternally pleasing notes of swing music and Jazz which gives the tracks a timeless quality but at the same time it doesn’t sound played out and even benefits from being composed electronically.

‘Hey Mr’ opens in such a way that it seems live and that certainly adds to the quality I mentioned earlier of the entire album being performed in a club. This song is another tremendous addition, there’s one bit in particular where they call for a saxophone and he responds with a toot from his instrument, it’s fun and playful and not something I’ve come across often before. It’s a nice little call and response that can be really good if done well and it most certainly was in this case.

‘Autumn Afternoon’ is another chance for the sisters to show of their wonderful voices, the music also seems supplemental to their wonderful singing, often bands and singers coast on how well they play or how good the music is but at its core if you have singing then it needs to be clear, enjoyable and worth listening to and Zoe and Zara certainly manage to tick the boxes so to speak. Autumn Afternoon is one of my favourites, it has a playful quality to it and it’s just really lovely to listen to.

‘Butterfly’ clocks in at 8.35 longs and is by far the longest track on the Album but that just means there’s plenty to enjoy, this track feels like mood music, like something you’d hear in a club to add ambience. It’s soft and enjoyable and easy to listen to. The first few minutes act as an extended instrumental opening before we are treated to vocals, and its worth the wait. The song is light and uncomplicated and backed up by a gentle jazz beat that just carries you through the track in a daze. I really liked this track, it might not be something you’d listen to all the time because of the length but its still strong and especially once both sisters start singing together and it builds up a little. Anyone who’s into a soft smooth, swinging kinda track should give this track a chance.

‘Talk About It (feat. Rayon Nelson)’ starts of with a familiar jazzy beat, counterpointed by the singers, this track introduced another voice Rayon Nelson and he really does add something to this track, it’s not just that it gives Zoe and Zara someone else to bounce off he enhances the whole soulful jazz vibe of the album.

‘Dessert’ opens with a slightly different beat, more electronic for a start, but still very classy and ambient. This track is far more sultry and suggestive than the previous tracks and it’s a good way to end the album. I enjoyed the imagery of this one particularly but overall I think all the tracks had well defined lyrics and played really well.

So that’s what I thought of Zoe and Zara’s album ‘The Introduction’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. Make sure and support the artists by following them on Facebook and Twitter or visiting their YouTube channel

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