Slow, warm and bittersweet dream pop ditties are the stuff of Argentina-born, Britain-raised Malena Zavala’s debut album, and she writes, performs and produces them very well. There’s a very gentle mix of roots rock, Latin and singer-songwriter styles at work here, rendered in fuzzy, lo-fi production
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Find yourself a tree generous with its shade and share this record with it. A clear, often acoustic dream pop record of lovely, looped instrumentals and bittersweet hooks, ‘Aliso’ feels perfect for an early night spent outdoors. Using hints of fuzz, wahing guitars and rootsy arrangements, Zavala has made a strangely singular record, evocative of its own time of day and sense of place.
Zavala’s songs are lucid. Her voice is first, undiluted, and her instruments sound off cleanly and discretely, the large, open environment around them lending them a gravity not quite afforded by the usual dream pop effects. “Broken by Two” is as sparse as a songwriter tune gets, but it’s loud and proud, a whole landscape unfolding around its Buckley-esque strums and confident solo vocal. “Aliso” is a wonderful juxtaposition of pretty watery guitar and the light buzz of a recording device, the two mixing together to give you a feel of the dark red sky it sounds like Zavala made this from underneath. There’s nothing quite like a humid summer night spent alone and lonely: ‘Aliso’ knows exactly how that feels, and sounds like it came from one.
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- Aliso by Malena Zavala
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