'Mara' by Alle album review by Owen Maxwell for Northern Transmissions

Red Hyenas/oneRPM

8.5/10

Alle

Mara

The power of a creative mind and a collective can be furiously exciting and makes Alle a band to watch. With bits of Iron & Wine, Warpaint, Atoms For Peace among others, Alle is constantly shooting in different directions but maintaining a hypnotic core. While it’s not always what you expect this lands in a great valley of many genres for a fun and often satisfying listen that is more cohesive than it should be.

The seamless cohesion of the group is clear in the downbeat fury they present in a song like “Soot” where every harmony feels as playful as it is sorrowful. With their dynamic rhythm section (bolstered by Warpaint’s Jenny Lee Lindberg) every chorus goes from 0-60 in bint and often gloriously chaotic shrieks. Even though it seems like we’ve all but moved beyond solos in studio albums, Alle’s emotive find ways to make these moments satisfying. The real breadth of what you can expect out of the record becomes clear on “Klin” where the collective delivers a sombre string interlude, full of pain and doubt. Though it is in stark contrast to many of the jam tracks on the album, it’s a stirring listen. “CoStar” returns to the strong grooves that feel most reminiscent of the band’s Warpaint connection, with warped vocals playing against the strange production cues. With a touch of hip hop in the drums, this track really shakes back and forth.

Alle do however hit an exciting middle ground between their more ambient, score-like sounds and their pop sides on “Liver And Lung.” The tracks swaying guitar lines create a soothing feeling that only grows with the saxes. It’s the rush of guitar arpeggios and warped lines that create a tension that gives the song so much more intrigue however. The ominous piano and reverb of “Swallowing Silver” only make it’s unrelenting lyricism and delivery that much more haunting. In this way, the track sees its wilting harmonies play together with the piano as contrast and companion as they both grow more intense with the swelling strings. Unhinged producition drives “Creatrincos Velve” that taps into moods of the new Suspiria soundtrack, experimental rock and some unusual soul. As the vocals trade in and out with a vicious swirl, this track really stands tall as an album highlight.

Going into the final moments of the record, “Emerald Cold Strokes” glistens with warm string runs and pointed uses of the Alle string section to create a feeling all their own. In their stark and disparate energy, the track really floats as this enigmatic meditation on feeling no longer tethered to the world. This makes the kind of pop interpretation of this feeling in “Una” all the more exhilarating as the record closes out.

Words by Owen Maxwell