Tuesday, 23 June 2015

MALKA - ALBUM REVIEW

Malka - Marching To Another Beat (Tantrum Records) 
Malka - Marching To Another Beat

Release Date: Out Now

For the uninitiated among you, Malka is essentially the solo project of former 6 Day Riot front woman Tamara Schlesinger. But consider this a side project or 'after thought' at your peril as this debut album under the Malka moniker takes Schlesinger's talents on to a new level and pushes the boundaries of musical creativity in a way that normally garners critical acclaim and Mercury Prize nominations. 'Marching To Another Beat' opens with the percussively fuelled 'Into The Night' which emerges from urban shadows with tribal rhythms, that trade mark delicate but firm voice and layer upon layer upon layer of sounds, noises, vocals harmonies and flashes of melody leaving space for Schlesinger to dart, firefly-like, through the night sky. 'Wrap It Up' sees the first sign of a theme that runs through the album of a child-like inspiration that suggests the writing of this album was influenced by playground songs heard wafting over high fences in and around East London. Aside from the fantastic rhythmic quality of the song, the chorus of layered vocals will surely be sung by our great great grandchildren as they skip double Dutch in playgrounds made of solar panels with lasers for skipping ropes. It's this mix of traditional and futuristic influences that makes this album so full of joy and unadulterated fun albeit with dark corners.

With 'Eyes On The Prize' Malka explores a dark territory with a deep synth drone, pounding drums and a lyric that is sung through determinedly clenched teeth in the face of some adversity, one can only imagine. The whispy, misty openings of 'My Body (Takin' Over)' soon gives way to a celtic influenced pre-battle rabble rousing beast that channels all of the elements but particularly the raw unpredictability of fire switching from a flicker to a blaze in an instant. The early single release from this collection was 'Let It Go' which may be one of the most mistakenly downloaded songs by pre-teen girls the world over but those girls will only be enriched by hearing this sparkling, LadyHawke-esque pop nugget rather than some over processed Disney schmaltz. The hand claps and dramatic beats of 'I Never Needed Love' are easy to compare to Florence + The Machine but there is a more mystical vibe at play here as Schlesinger again weaves her magic to make this more than just a collection of notes, words and rhythms.

Malka - not afraid of make-up....or hats. 
The layered vocals that introduce 'Burn On The Fire' are joined by some tribal percussion to create an otherworldly atmosphere that the likes of Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel specialise in but there is still a raw, pop edge that Shampoo or Transvision Vamp would be proud to call their own. Then that laser skipping returns on 'Jumpin' The Line' with handclaps, tumbling vocal melodies and the playful inventiveness of Kimbra and if you're not in love with this album by now then there really is no hope for you or your children. As we reach the final two tunes there is a mixture of melancholy sadness that the journey is coming to an end and excited glee that we can start all over again when these ten tracks are done. 'I've Got Nothing' captures this beautifully as the intertwined vocals at the beginning snake and swirl like smoke from a dying fire that, until recently, was host to a party of dancing, smiling, laughing free spirits. The album closes with 'Wrong Side Of This Town' which begins with that child-like quality again but grows up with every beat until a tune emerges that shows a harder, darker side that wouldn't be out of place on a Sleigh Bells album. To sum up, what we have is a debut album from a British project that displays lyrical ingenuity, melodic adventurousness, percussive originality and a creative bravery that is as refreshing as it is daunting for all artists following on in the wake of this release. Oh, and it's a perfect summer album too so just get yourself a copy alright?

More information: https://www.facebook.com/malkamakesmusic?fref=ts

Live Dates:

8th August - WAME Festival, Woodbridge

6th October - The Waiting Room, London

1 comment:

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