Editors’ Notes Describing their music as “piano prog-pop,” The Zolas have made a sophomore album that sounds like an intersection of Harry Nilsson’s ivory-tickled pop sophistication and Tame Impala’s postmodern indie rock by way of John Lennon—save for searing guitar leads that give muscle to the handsome opening tune, “In Heaven.” The Vancouver duo of Zachary Gray (guitar and vocals) and Tom Dobrzanski (piano and vocals) scales back the waxed-moustache cabaret of their 2009 debut, Tic Toc Tic, for songs that balance intricate arrangements punctuated by reverberated piano parts and a less-is-more approach to their rhythmic backbone. An alluring melody is nestled within the title track's hazy hues of vintage tones and ethereal ambience; it's more enticing with additional listens. Much of Ancient Mars works a similar magic—song hooks are planted like seeds throughout the album. With repeated plays, The Zolas' tunes ripen like tomatoes on the vine. “Strange Girl” best exemplifies this, with a sweet clash of '90s indie pop sensibilities played with what sounds like vintage instruments. Underneath this sonic contrast, a melody is sprouting.

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