Skip to main content

Single Review: Ålesund – 'Lightning'

by Will Gough

Imagine a London Grammar and Florence + The Machine hybrid. Got it? Now add ethereal, Nordic imagery similar to that of AURORA, and you’re left with the atmospheric marvel that is Ålesund. The Bristol-based four-piece gave us a beautiful yet sombre taste of their potential with their 2020 EP ‘All Hail To Your Queen’. This time they’ve opted for a more optimistic approach, offering more bright and hopeful melodies in their latest release, ‘Lightning’, the first single teased to us from their upcoming EP ‘A Thread In The Dark’. They’ve also given us an enchanting music video for us to enjoy it with - because they’re just lovely like that.

Despite the excellent backing melodies, singer Alba Torriset is the real star of the show here. Torriset’s powerful vocals are capable of being both haunting whilst also offering a more hopeful and uplifting outlook. These mixed emotions are also seen in the lyricism of the song. The overall theme of ‘Lightning’ is a feeling of trepidation before making a big change in life, the anxiety that occurs before, and the glimmer of hope it also brings. ‘Lightning’ successfully manages to capture the emotions running up to take the plunge in life, with lines like “Hold on to the spark that lights our way” and “I’m not saying it’s not fine / to be vulnerable this time / the biggest moments in our lives”.

The backing melody is simple yet effective, with light guitars and synths excellently complimenting Torriset’s vocals. Clean drum beats and clapping percussion gives a distinct purity that really adds to the mysterious but stunning elements that make up ‘Lightning’ and Ålesund’s unique sound. Sure, the vocals are the main attraction here, but the instrumentals have been perfectly tailored to add to them rather than competing for your attention, and it results in an attractive, unified sound.

‘Lightning’ serves as an auspicious, brave anthem that looks to the future welcoming its trials and challenges openly. Although not specifically mentioned in the themes of the song, one can’t help but relate this optimism to 2021 being a slightly better year than its predecessor. If ‘Lightning’ is anything to go by, however, Ålesund seem to be taking us in a different direction from their last release, this time giving us a more positive ballad that stays true to their admirable, iconic sound. Alt-pop fans and new listeners would do very well to pay attention to what this marvellous band have in store for us next.


Most Popular

‘Make Tattooing Safe Again’: Sheffield Based Tattoo Artist Exposed for Indecent Behaviour

 by Emily Fletcher TW: SA, Animal Abuse, Transphobia Photo Credit: @ meiko_akiz uki Recently, an  Instagram account  has been created to provide a  ‘space to safely give a voice to those who want to speak out about the behaviour of one, Sheffield based tattoo artist’. A  total of 40+ posts have been made by the above social media account regarding  one of Sheffield's most popular tattoo artists .  Thankfully, all posts are prefaced with a Content Warning prior to sharing screenshots of the messages that have been sent anonymously to the page. The majority of Content Warnings refer to sexual behaviour, abuse, and sexual assault. It is clear that there is a reoccurring theme within each submission, as many clients appear to have had the same experiences with the tattoo artist. Women, mostly, are being made to feel uncomfortable while being tattooed. One of the most vulnerable positions anyone can be in, tattoo artists should make their clients feel comfortable and safe during the pro

Eurydice’s Last Words

by Kate Bradley I do not want to return To sit in the stalls, Of an empty black box Strewn with petals Leave the ghost light on, Let it shine like a call home, But I will not come back To turn it off alone. I learn this as we walk Our ever so solemn path Our thudding funeral march, You think we’re going back. As I trace my old steps, I fear of the day When the symphony swells, And I land my gaze On you, yet you will be Enraptured by the sound, If you did twist To turn around, You would not see me. So I am not sorry, I speak out into the empty air And I am not sorry. “Turn Around.” You do, you look You think  I fall But I run on, Arms wide open To fall in love With it all “Perhaps she was the one who said, ‘Turn around.” On the X45 bus, back from the Tyneside Cinema, I wrote a poem entitled “Eurydice’s Final Words”, after having seen “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”.  That poem was terrible, so I wrote a new one, as my response to the beautifully poignant film.  In one scene, Héloïse, an 18

Single Review: ‘Tell Me’ - Jay Moussa-Mann

by Ilana Hawdon The feeling of pure betrayal and heartbreak is perfectly captured in Jay Moussa-Mann’s latest single, ‘Tell Me’. Jay Moussa-Mann is the folk dream we have been waiting for. A favourite on BBC Introducing, Radio 6 and BBC Radio Tees, Jay ’s sound is easy on the ears but delightfully addictive. With a background in writing and film, she began her solo musical venture when she released her debut album, ‘Little Deaths’ in late-2019, and since then, Moussa-Mann has defined herself as an artist with unbelievable range and promise.    ‘Tell Me’ is completely timeless; with notes of Carole King and Joni Mitchell, Moussa-Mann creates a folk-inspired track which is simultaneously heart wrenching and strangely empowering. Beginning as a simple guitar tune, ‘Tell Me’ builds with layers of luscious strings and twinkling piano, tied together with Jay ’s vocal line which is equal parts melancholic and divine. The song feels unwaveringly intimate; the lyrics ask, ‘what was I worth?’