Malka – Ratatatat (Tantrum Records) 
Malka - Ratatat

Release Date: 20th October 2017

So here it is. A bit like Christmas. I’ve been waiting a good long time for this album by Scottish song-weaver Malka and her it is all shiny, colourful and full of promise. Like I said, a bit like Christmas. ‘Ratatatat’, love it already, starts delicately with ‘Fell for You’ creeping out from the shadows with the child-like vocals channelling Kate Nash but with a more elfin whimsy that is hard to resist, despite the lyrical content being in complete juxtaposition. Recent single ‘No No No’ has had a lot of love from the likes of BBC 6Music due to its clickety-clackety rhythm that builds in to the kind of dance beat that feels super-contemporary but also as though it could be played around a large, Pagan fire. By the time we get to ‘Wonder Why’, you can see that rhythm is a real theme of this album with the melodies being teased out from Malka (aka Tamara Schlesinger) in her delicate, lace-like vocal and bolstered by those beat and bass combinations.

We hit peak tribalism on ‘Get Out (The Jungle)’ as Malka’s voice is layered up like a solstice chant on top of a rhythm that comes from somewhere inside a translucent pool of water reflecting only the moon. ‘Freedom’ has a real sense of optimism about it between the notes that bounce like slow motion rain drops and the bass pulse that is almost comforting. Meanwhile, ‘Breakout’ has a dreamlike quality as those vocals and beats intermingle yet again. It’s at this point that you realise what Malka has done in presenting a style of music that feels very modern and as though it is pushing some boundaries yet simultaneously this music is wrapped around the basic and most primal musical core of voice and rhythm. It’s a difficult balance to strike but there is a poise to this record that leaves you in no doubt that the balance has been achieved.

Malka ..... winning that staring competition
Having said all of that, ‘Gold’ takes things in a slightly darker, more subdued direction that has some 80s inspired moments in among the sprinkled magic. The nursery rhyme vibe comes back on ‘Falling’ which feels like it was written in Malka’s playful mind whilst playing hop-scotch or just generally skipping around a market buying flowers. As we approach the end of this collection, ‘Don’t Need Anyone’ slides in from stage light to steal the show as my track of the album with it’s hypnotic, Middle-Eastern background melodies mixing with the whispered vocals and those persistent beats. Closing out with ‘Circles’, Malka seals the deal with a triumphant climax that builds and releases like a bird being let out of its cage in to a new bright world full of promise and confusion. This is a stunning collection of intricately woven songs that have a solid base in their tribal rhythms but a very modern twist that means these songs stand up to repeated listens. Like gourmet versions of standard recipes, a real eye-opener and palate cleanser.

Live Dates:

1st November – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh w/Chuchoter
2nd November – Hug & Pint, Glasgow w/Chuchoter
13th November – The Walrus, Brighton w/Charlie & The Villas
14th November – The Lexington, London w/Alessandro Ciminata

15th November – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham w/Danielle Cawdell