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Malka - Marching To Another Beat (Review)

Malka, Marching To Another Beat

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FROM its emphatic back-beats to its lush vocal harmonies, Malka’s new album, Marching To Another Beat, is a striking collection of songs to lift every mood.

What’s more, it sounds like the artist at her most free. Under various guises, both solo and as front-woman of the acclaimed ‘6 Day Riot’, Tamara Schlesinger has enjoyed chart success, extensively toured the UK and North America, achieved acclaim from major press, synced her music to domestic TV shows (Skins) and even Hollywood films and trailers (Scream 4, 127 Hours).

Formerly writing and transforming songs from demos with a live band, recording under a new moniker gave Malka complete studio freedom to apply her own ideas and production techniques – playing all instruments herself.

The result, by her own admission, provides “an honest account of where I am right now, a crossroads where playful and youthful exuberance meets with some maturity and a sense of exploring my place in life”.

The ensuing songs are as beautiful as they upbeat, albeit subverting expectation at every point to create a sound that bears closest comparisons with artists like Imogen Heap without compromising her own identity.

Hence, album opener Into The Night is high on beautiful alt-pop harmonies that disarm, while the distinct beat structure that marks so much of the album, and which provides a robust contrast to the fragility often inherent in the vocals, is first evident on the foot-stomping Wrap It Up (an early favourite).

As proved with her past singles, Malka also isn’t afraid to combine that unique sound with records that are more than capable of working well within the mainstream. Hence, I’ve Never Needed Love offers up a euphoric menagerie of tribal rhythms, soul claps and heavy vocal layering that sweeps you along in happy go-lucky fashion in spite of its bittersweet lyrics. It combines a vulnerability with a sense of empowerment to ear-catching effect.

Let It Go, meanwhile, has a percussion that’s reminiscent of The Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian while mixing it up with more thunderous back-beats and – as if to subvert things completely – the odd moment of a capella. It’s another of the album’s strong highlights.

There’s edge and more than a hint of danger to tracks like Burn On The Fire, which finds the synths at their most throbbing and Malka’s vocals at their most atmospheric and ethereal, while I’ve Got Nothing again combines some appealing electronic soundscapes to vocals that truly soar to some epic heights (in spite of more bittersweet vocals that lament “I’ve got nothing here without you”).

Indeed, barring the minor criticism that the occasional track struggles to differentiate itself because of how distinct Malka’s vocals can be, this is a revelatory album that really announces Malka’s talent in a big, big way. It’s a fantastic listen.

Download picks: Wrap It Up, Let It Go, I Never Needed Love, I’ve Got Nothing, Wrong Side of This Town

I Never Needed Love video:

Let It Go video:

Track listing:

  1. Into The Night
  2. Wrap It Up
  3. Eyes On The Prize
  4. My Body (Takin’ Over)
  5. Let It Go
  6. I Never Needed Love
  7. Burn On The Fire
  8. Jumpin’ The Line
  9. I’ve Got Nothing
  10. Wrong Side of This Town

  1. Maybe I’m a big softie, but I love track 4, ‘My Body (Takin’ Over)’ but the whole creation of this album is great :-)

    Richard McKay    Jun 3    #