ALA.NI: ACCA (A+LSO) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, July 12th, 2020  




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ALA.NI has certainly made a massive impression entirely on her own terms. Her unique take on DIY has seen her develop a sparse sound made from sampling voices, beat boxing, strings, and brass to create intricate, if not slightly bizarre, songs with delicate arrangements which has been a huge hit with the critics. As an indicator of just how great her artistic impact has been, her second full-length record, ACCA, includes contributions from both punk legend Iggy Pop and esteemed rapper Lakeith Stanfield.

Continuing the same method as used on her debut album, 2017's You & I, ALA.NI has again entirely self-produced her follow-up record on an iPad and sang a capella. ACCA starts off endearingly odd with wilfully eccentric first track "Differently," which celebrates personal peculiarities with an impassioned vocal rising above minimalist percussion, sets the tone for the rest of side A.

London born ALA.NI now lives in Paris and although it should be expected from the name "Le Diplomate," it comes as a bit of a shock to hear Iggy Pop's familiar drawl in French. But what is an even bigger surprise is just how sexy his gravelly voice is when speaking in the language of love, as accompanied by sampled huffs and sighs. Though dedicated fans to the original proto punk might be already aware of his proficient Franco tongue from his 2012 covers album Après, which was similarly crooned entirely in French.

Things take a sharp turn with "Hide," which sees a massive change in style, briefly dropping the lo-fi electronica in favor of becoming a forlorn cabaret number as previously exhibited on her first album. "Papa" returns to type with a breathy number and "Sha La La" which are both more in keeping with the rest of the record. "Bitch," the closing track of the first half of the record, revisits shades of bohemian theatrical accompaniment, with Iggy Pop popping up once again to growl "ALA.NI stop being such a bitch."

Side B starts with brief echoing spoken word track "All the Things" before being joined by Stanfield on "Van P," which is achingly cool and easily one of the stand out tracks on the album. Taking a polished alt-pop style that feels like it could almost be an entirely different songwriter, it definitely feels like it's the direction ALA.NI should pursue and does characterize the rest of the second halfalthough Stanfield's contribution does feel a bit tagged on.

Seemingly embolden by just how good "Van P" is, subsequent track "Wales" has a real power to it, "In the Land" is a stirring instrumental, and "Away Go" is the emotional closer the brings us to a satisfying end.

A lot of ACCA is sort of reminiscent of the theme song from Rugratsthe slightly odd layering of kooky sounds that often sound a bit kindergarten in nature and is perhaps easy to dismiss as childish. However, that would ignore the tremendous ingenuity on display. True, it's not really the sort of record that has obvious hit singles or floor filling songs that would get the crowd going. But ALA.NI has certainly succeeded in etching out her own inimitable sound and it's a rare thing when a musician has succeeded in creating their own creative space with no immediate comparisons or obvious peers, which is certainly something to be celebrated. It does feel like she is yet to fully reach the potential of her unique style and we are perhaps still awaiting something truly impressive that "All the Things" hints at. However, it's certainly very interesting listening to her sonic journey on the way towards that goal. (

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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