New Audio: Toronto’s Zinnia Releases a Shimmering and Brooding Meditation on Grief

ZINNIA is a Toronto-based art pop project featuring its creative mastermind Rachel Cardiello along with James Burrows, Chris Pruden, Connor Walsh and Mackenzie Longpre. And since their formation, the Canadian act has developed a layered synth-based sound with driving beats that’s been recently described as Kate Bush meets Meat Loaf as the material manages to be intimate and fierce.

Slated for a November 22, 2019 release, ZINNIA’s full-length debut Sensations in Two Dot thematically focuses on moments of doubt — in particular, creative, societal and personal, while exploring what it means to hold compassion through the multifaceted grey areas of life. Whether in the real life town of Two Dot, Montana (population 143) or the band’s hometown of Toronto (population 2.6 million), the album’s nine songs attempt to probe the complex, unsettling similarities of the human experience.  The album’s latest single, the atmospheric “Requiem” features a sparse arrangement of twinkling and dramatic keys, a propulsive rhythm section, achingly plaintive vocals and a soaring hook. And while bearing a resemblance to Aimee Mann, Kate Bush and others, the track is centered around deeply personal and lived in experience — in his case, Cardiello’s grief over the death of her father, and how that has changed over the past decade. It’s a song that hits close to home: it’s been close to a decade since my father’s death and although the circumstances are probably very different, how I’ve thought about it and processed it has changed over time.

“I spent most of my twenties processing my dad’s death — thinking, writing and singing about it,” Cardiello recalls in press notes. “In some way, I feel like I processed it so fully that I grew a thick callus around the part of the loss that was very raw and fragile. At times, I resented the tough skin, which was necessary to get through that hard time.

“I wrote ‘Requiem’ on the plane ride to Montana, to mark the 10 year anniversary of his death. It felt like a significant milestone and I was curious to see how my grief would change.”