Adult Books

by Matt Christensen

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"Not that I expected any less, but I’m happy to say that Adult Books’ half-dozen songs are as haunting, alluring, and engaging as any formal Zelienople record. I’ve spent the past ten days or so listening to it, unpacking it, and getting lost in it. The most recognizable trait might be Christensen’s reverb-drenched vocals, which any fan of his band will pick up almost instantly. That aside, there are several elements that set this record apart from recent Zelienople releases. The lazy (plaintive?), distant piano and the lush, Sketches Of Spain-style horns remind me of how good The Drift were at their best (ie. Memory Drawings), or to take things back a little further, those two essential Talk Talk records (Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock). To my ears I’m hearing more programmed effects than I believe are common on Zelienople records, but sometimes fresh ears hear nuances more clearly than they can recall familiar sounds from the past.
The six pieces here are not so much a collection of songs as they are is a series of movements. To listen to Adult Books is to float between moods. Following the first two tracks, “Starving II” is built upon what sounds like either a decaying reel of tape, a passing rain shower, or a very disjointed tide moving in. “How Did You Find Me” with its digital trills and simple acoustic guitar strums is probably the tune most likely to appear on a Zelienople record. “Unwind Us” offers a harrowing conclusion, and I mean that in the best possible way. Eeriness in drone-heavy records is a quality I seek, and most everything Christensen records provides ghostly qualities. It is music that begs for your attention, and once you’ve complied it’s hard to wrench yourself free.
Adult Books is more than worth the $5 for a full download. If you’re already a fan of Zelienople it should be considered required listening. While the full band draws comparisons to groups like Slowdive, The Dead C, My Bloody Valentine, and Starving Weirdos, Christensen’s solo work here is more reminiscent of Mark Hollis, the later Tarentel records, and Nurse With Wound’s Shipwreck Radio series."


released March 29, 2016

Matt Christensen: Guitar and vocals
Brad Koller: Horns
Marcus Cupero: Drums and percussion
Ellen Hasse: Synths
Pete Jardin: Bass

Recorded by Matt Christensen and Emily Chambers at The Yellow Room, Chicago, Il.

Mastered by Brian Harding



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Matt Christensen

Matt Christensen is a Chicago-based musician who has played in the band Zelienople for close to 20 years. His primary instruments are voice and guitar. He has recorded and performed with Good Stuff House, John Twells, Mind Over Mirrors, CRG, and as a solo artist. Matt has released solo records on Miasmah Records, Bathetic Records, Under The Spire Records, and independently through Bandcamp. ... more

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