Alba Lua – Ballad of Joseph Merrick

Release Date 28/06/2010 (Satellite of Love)

By Kristian Jackson

Alba Lua’s debut EP “Ballad of Joseph Merrick” is the sound of a band who’ve taken the word ‘dreamy’ as their template and wholeheartedly applied it to their musical output. The simple, unfussy melodies on display in each of these three songs subtly lodge themselves in your head after a handful of plays, and you’ll have no desire to shift them any time soon.

The elegant beginnings of the multi-layered title track open proceedings, as the song builds slowly towards an ending that threatens to explode, but never does. This sense of restraint serves them well, and they maintain it until the final moments of closing track “Valley of Abra.” Even then, the eruption of volume is kept tantalisingly brief, leaving you wanting more without leaving you feeling as though you’ve been cheated. Sandwiched in between is “Sungaze,” a lovely little pop song right down to the gentle “la la la la” harmonies that kick in as the music fades away.

There’s an understated beauty running through this EP, and the hazy vocals add to the effect, allowing the listener to drift along with the music. Fitting in somewhere between shoegaze and chillwave, “Ballad of Joseph Merrick” is the perfect soundtrack to a laidback summer, and strong evidence that Alba Lua are worth keeping an eye on.

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