Nala - 'Woman' EP
We've featured so many different styles of music in the last week, but we haven't written about that many 'old fashioned' Alternative Rock style bands, with big guitars and high intensity vocals. Thankfully we'll correct that now with Swedish band 'Nala', who we were going to feature a couple of weeks ago when they released their single 'How, When & Where', but we've waited instead for the full EP release, which is entitled 'Woman', and which has been out for a few days.
This EP has appealed to me, because whilst the 'backbone' of Nala is a guitar based sound, this is a band who are not afraid to mix things up, and combined with the searing but still melancholy vocals of Liselotte Lindgren, the overall effect from the Gothenburg based band is an intense take on alternative rock. 'Woman' is their debut EP, which has been produced by Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness, Imogen Heap) and it follows a successful summer playing at festivals such as 'Putte i Parken" and'Malmöfestivalen'.
'Woman' opens with an introductory track 'Sine' and it's a really good song to start with, as Lindgren's vocals are distant and almost mournful sounding, and it does even have a slight 'Nordic' feel to it. There is also an inevitable 'calm before the storm' element to it too, and the song neatly builds into 'Lost', opening with explosive guitars before vocals again carve out those melancholy but always convincing vocals. There is a really strong rhythmic quality to the track, with a big bass line, and again the song leads straight into 'How, When & Where', the pre-EP single, which has a more conventional alternative rock feel, with a big melodic vocal chorus and an offbeat rhythmic middle section that I particularly like.
'Through Your Eyes' is an impassioned track, opening with 2 minutes of stripped back vocals, and the emotion in the voice of Liselotte Lindgren is powerful and unrelenting, and when the guitars finally enter the fray they just add to the heartfelt spirit in which the track has been written. The epic final track 'Woman' has a different feel to it, with a piano opening and vocals that bring the lyrics to the fore, but the track then builds with a slow intensity and crescendo of guitars to a sustained instrumental climax, before solitary piano intervenes and concludes the track - it is an outstanding end to the EP.
We clearly come across a lot of 'heavier' alternative rock style Nordic bands, through submissions and particularly when we trawl through sites such as Bandcamp trying to unearth new artists. 'Nala' I think offer something different, they have an ability to write songs which combine emotional sounding vocal sections with bursts of high energy guitar led mayhem only when they feel they need it, and it's those different shades of darkness and light that give the songs their power, and their appeal to me as a listener. It is true that they haven't found any killer 'rock hits' as such yet, but with excellent vocals and such intense songwriting, Nala should be a powerful voice on the Swedish live music scene in particular.