Mangled, blotto, zonked, wasted, atomised, detached, isolated, lonely, alone, out of it, disintegrated, fragmented, gone green, dissociated, paranoid, disconnected … now add ‘Zorked’ to the lexicon for feeling, well, all the aforementioned … and some.

It’s a potent mix you’re stirring when you’re ingesting some stimulants to try and escape somewhere, anywhere, nowhere, and then the walls close in on the planet at the same time in March 2020. Psyche-illogical warfare breaks (in and) out.

Thing is, once you’ve realised the fug of fog, the narco-mist needs dissipating and it’s high-time you recalibrated your sense of reality, where do you go, rehab? The gym? Nah, Los Angeles, Bubbleland, that’ll alleviate the deep-dive descent into off-ya-hedonism … won’t it? Well, if creativity is the purest path out of a pickle then Julia Shapiro (Chastity Belt; Childbirth; Who is She?) has arguably chosen well.

On ‘Zorked’ Shapiro sonically captures that washed-out, submerged, fuzzy-muzzy head-clouded lo-fidelity feel that embodies the themes. Co-produced by roommate Melina Duterte (Jay Som) the album takes in the shoegazing aesthetic (a pejorative adjective or fabled label depending on your tastes) pioneered by My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride (‘Wrong Time’), jangled guitars and an ambled, mumbled, rambled, garbled intonation backed by high-melodies a la Cocteau Twins’ gauzy glimmer-shimmer (‘Pure Bliss’). However, there’s also a more subdued, plaintive side (‘Reptile Reptile’; ‘Hall of Mirrors’), muttered, spluttered utterances that cut through the cluttered recollections.

The drone-groan-moan of ‘Death (XIII)’ is inspired by the tarot card for ‘death’. Less so a portent of imminent expiry, more springboard for immanent beginning, fresh starts, the onset of change and progress. If you play your cards right. On ‘Do nothing about it’ Shapiro (be)moans that ‘she’ feels bad all day, but, does nothing about it’, a bout of self-reflexive self-analysis laced with a wry, knowing smile backed by a languid riff that develops into a Dante-esque downward descent. Sometimes you have to sink to the depths to see the ways back.

On ‘Zorked’ Shapiro delivers a cathartic confessional, a soul-cleansing, head-clearing, year zero line drawn in the sand. Dusted down and ready to venture once more unto the breach.