(4 / 5)
To write music alone is a difficult task. A task often struggled with.
But Tamara Schlesinger, otherwise known as MALKA, has absolutely aced that task with her third solo album “I’m Not Your Soldier”.
Back in 2015, Sottish-born and bred MALKA released acclaimed debut album, “Marching To Another Beat”, on her own Tantrum label.
She played all instrumentation along with lead vocals on the record, co-produced by Jay Glover. Winning which won support from DJs such as Lauren Laverne, Chris Hawkins and Amy Lamé.
In October 2017, she dropped her acclaimed second album, “Ratatatat”, which made many “Best Of 2017” lists that year.
Preceding a solo career, Tamara fronted alt. folk outfit 6 Day Riot, who released three albums. She also put out a solo album, “The Procession”, under her real name, before adopting the moniker MALKA (stylised in upper case).
“I’m Not Your Soldier” sees the artist go back to her roots by writing and recording the dozen tracks in her Glasgow home. Working with producer Paul Savage, former Delgados member and a prolific record producer and engineer from Glasgow.
Her quirky vocals on positive-message lyrics about juggling being a wife, a mother and a self-made artist, coupled with dark synth’ sounds, has crafted a beautiful album.
Airy vocals on a varied batch of songs, many of the tracks for me are reminiscent of Charli XCX – in particular “Hand in the Fire” and “Lorde (Homemade Dynamite)”.
With the opener, “A New World”, you are transported to exactly that. A futuristic feel that guides you through this pleasing set and is a very even listen.
In this fast-paced and disposable world we live in, here is a calm corner to escape to – and while many cherry pick tracks from band’s and artist’s albums, I’d urge a listen to this full project and in the order the tracks are presented. It all sits and fits together as a whole, to get the best out of it.
“Get Out”, is a song which feels like it should be part of a pivotal moment in a coming-of-age film. Familiar territory for MALKA, whose music has been used on soundtracks of film and TV, such as “Scream 4”, “127 Hours”, “Skins” and “Degrassi” and on Netflix and MTV.
The song itself reminds me of the summertime hits brought out by Shura in 2016. “Get Out” along with “Taking It Back” and “Moving Together” will be on my “go-to” playlist this summer, for sure.
“Taking It Back” is one of the more interesting tracks here – a good bet for a summer hit. Something you might hear as you step off a ‘plane into the sweltering overseas heat at the start of annual vacation adventures.
BBC 6Music have got behind the single,“Moving Togther”. The official video (which you can watch, below) see’s MALKA reuniting with former gymnastics partner and old friend Lorna Somner, to go through a gymnastics routine together for the first time in 20 years. The pair were Scottish champions, as well as members of Team GB.
As a talented multi-instrumentalist, MALKA has the creative freedom to play all of the instruments on the album herself. She uses this freedom to create work that feels completely personal.
For an album that knits together as nicely as this does, one cut, “Don’t Believe It” somehow doesn’t quite seem to fit as snugly as the other cuts, for my ears.
But MALKA has delivered a unique set of songs and recordings far removed from the conveyor belt of the mediocre, that really do deserve to be heard far and wide. A gifted artist and musician who’s definitely one to watch in the future.
By Jacob Garner
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’