Aluka – Aluka : Album Review
It’s tough being Melbourne’s music capital; we have so much to live up to. People come to Melbourne expecting a certain level of artistic and creative quality that is perhaps, sometimes, difficult to maintain. I’m not dissing Australia Town’s fine range of bands and singers, but I do sometimes find myself in slumps; quagmires wherein I find the breadth of local talent no longer satisfies my ravenous appetites.
But lo- light through yonder window breaks! Aluka! In all their glory!
For those who do not know Aluka, here are the basics: three lovely Victorian girls sing a capella originals. They used to sing with Claire Bowditch and now they are branching into a trio venture. Their self-titled EP was recorded late last year and it now sits upon my desk, waiting to be devoured. Let us nom!
The EP opens with Shadow, which travellers of Triple J Unearthed will notice as one of their downloadable tracks on the site, as well as the follower, Warm Toast. Shadow sets the pace for what one can expect from the girls: a haze of doo’s, ooh’s and ba-da-hey’s amongst vocal instrumentation the likes of which I didn’t think anyone was doing in this day and age, certainly not in little old Melbs.
Each lady has a finely tuned, sweet voice and when they harmonise…brother, it’s like buttah.
Warm Toast would be a beautiful indie-folk track with some added instrumentation, but it manages to stands alone as an amazing piece of vocal work as well. “The summertime of hot, sticky nights is over…” they sing, injecting a sad grace into swaying, gorgeous vocals that bring about the night.
Coat Tails slows the disc down for me somewhat, but what is Aluka’s weakest track is still yards ahead, miles above, better, faster, stronger, than a whole heap of Melbournian output of late.
Mind Tricks has a scatty, forties-pin-up vibe to it, and you can imagine the girls performing to a boatload of troops… and one of them is Gene Kelly and the other is Frank Sinatra, and everyone has a good singalong on a ship… anyway.
The vocal work on this track is astounding; they manage to bend and turn their vocals in an unearthly manner; they make them dip and soar and everything in the creamy middle. It’s amazing what the human voice is capable of!
The disc ends- sadly, for a mere five tracks only causes to whet my pallet – with Woman. Long, tempered notes give way to the occasional easy “oh, oh” and “da-da-dey”; the girls give a licentious performance, with a substantial dash of gingham-frocked class.
I am a sucker for a decent voice-man or woman; all of my favourite artists are as such because of their vocal lustre and beautifully expressive manner of singing and songcrafting. Sam Cooke, Dinah Washington; my two favourite artists of all time, because their voices go unsurpassed in my musical history. Such a manner of vocalising human emotions with simple sounds, it’s astounding! Hence my attraction to Aluka; people- women, even – that have worked on and honed and built up their craft to such a point that, for all intents and purpose, they need nought else.
We can only hope the trend is contagious.