Album Review – Zibaldone by The Armoires (2019) Big Stir Records)

If their beautiful Incidental Lightshow album of 2016 (see review here) was The Armoires‘ tender and articulate catharsis of grief, Zibaldone is perhaps symbolic of how the human spirit recovers.


For this is the Armoires ready to ‘play’ again, both from a more expansive musical perspective and in terms of simply having, what is obviously a massive amount of fun.

Initially the dual vocals overlays of Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome are still the foundation of the sound, however they no longer dominate the aural soundscape as the band slip, slide, rollick and occasionally thrash around, within a number of influences that are plainly dear to their hearts.

Initially, there is jangle-pop a plenty, provided by slathers of Rickenbacker interplay in glorious tracks such as The Romantic Dream Appears Before UsAlesandra 619 (see below) and When We Were in England (And You Were Dead) that are given an inimitable ‘The Armoires sound’ with swathes of orchestral strings, courtesy of Larysa Bukbenko, that cajole an extra atmosphere.

Whilst the album goes to numerous 60’s inflected landmarks and always ‘passes go’, the best of the remainder of the album is seen in tracks that seem intent to deviate from any hitherto known musical construct and juxtapose every genre they are fond of, into a swirling mass of deliriously weird alt.jangle brilliance.

As such the likes of the album’s true standouts of in Appalachukrania (see below), McCadden and Is Drama Sue Here keep blurting out 60s Paisley reference points alongside unlikely bed fellows such as 80’s jangly British indie-pop and C86 coolness. It is a strange mix that reminds me of very early The B-52’s and is just as beguiling.

In the promo notes to the album the writer brilliant sums up their first two albums, stating that Incidental Lightshow was the album they ‘had’ to write, whereas this album is the one they ‘wanted’ to write…If this is what they want to do, lets hope nothing stops them from doing it again!

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