“I wasn’t afraid, lyrically, of going back to my folk roots. I would write a lot of social commentary then and I’m quite politically aware; with 6DR there was a lot about what’s going on in the world, and with MALKA I kind of didn’t do that. I’d popped it up a little bit… but I went back lyrically to my roots and found a balance of who I wanted to be on this album.”
The second album from Tamara Schlesinger under her MALKA moniker (and her eighth overall) follows 2015’s Marching To A Different Beat. Musically, pop synths and tribal rhythms provide a bright counterpart to the shadow cast lyrically; in a time of societal upheaval and global uncertainty, Ratatatat provides a brief freedom from those fears, and a commitment to life-affirming art.
Opening with ‘Fell For You’ there is a hint of MIA, whilst the bubbling classic pop bass lines are reminiscent of The Cure; but there’s also an edge as chirps, chants and whoops play around a snapping beat. It’s a great introduction to a fascinating and immersive collection built on intricate details of loops, found sounds and repeating refrains.
‘Wonder Why’ may be the track that listeners are already familiar with – released between albums, it caught the ear of Lauren Laverne and made her best of the year list. It’s bright and brilliant pop, catchy in the ubiquitous way but with a depth and a creativity that delights.
There’s a definite theme to the melody throughout the album, but enough variety between tracks that the only sense of repeating is in the deliberate loops of beats and vocal. With lead vocals that are often sing song, and layered with deeper backing there is an Afrobeat element to these pop tunes, lifting them and embedding them in your head.
Intelligent, creative and as hopeful as it is reflective, this is an album to excite in all the right ways; a light in dark times.
Ratatatat by MALKA is out on 20 October 2017 and is available for pre-order here. And you can catch her live throughout November:
1 November – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
2 November – Hug and Pint, Glasgow
3 November – We Are Robots, London
13 November – The Walrus, Brighton
14 November – The Lexington, London
15 November – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham.