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Alavala is a Finnish rock-pop-grunge-heavy band and its first album, Secret Whale, is a quirky combination of the genres mentioned. For me the album presents itself mostly as pop-rock, but with quite a fun attitude and a bit of an edge. Iīm not hearing so much of the heavy or hiphop elements mentioned in reference to the band in their press release, but that canīt be said to be a problem. I think Alavala does its own pop-rock thing, without worrying about labels or genres too much. No fault in that. However, some comparisons do come to my mind. First and foremost of those is Paramore. And I mean this in a positive way. Alavala has a slightly American sound, which may not be the most unique choice, but since it seems to work for them, Iīm not one to criticize that.
The band consists of four musicians who come from quite different backgrounds. Emppu and Noora are best known in Finland from their former band, Tiktak, which certainly was one of the more successful "girl power" bands playing the Finnish scene a few years ago. The two are joined by guitarist Masi (of Amoral, Dame and Feiled) and drummer Tyko. All in all, a rather convincing line-up.
Secret Whale is certainly a fun album. The tracks are mostly no-nonsense 3-minute packages of really energetic playing and catchy choruses. For some reason I keep thinking about pixies while listening to the album. You know those tiny but potentially quite menacing little fairytale creatures who can come up with all sorts of mischief? Those. I suspect itīs the sound of Emppuīs and Nooraīs vocals, they have a wonderfully mischievous style of singing. But the track titles reveal that they arenīt doing cutesy-fluffy music for pre-teens wearing pink. Titles like You Slept With A Wraith, Swear Revenge and Kill Kill Kill may give you an idea of the attitude.
If I had to describe this album with one single adjective, it would be quirky.
Bonus props for the band for the fun wordplay that is included in the bandīs name and the albumīs name. Alavala, a palindrome in itself, is two sīs short of "salavalas" which would be what "Secret Whale" is in Finnish. Nifty, that.
Emppu Suhonen - vocals & guitar
Masi Hukari - guitar
Noora Puhakka - bass & vocals
Tyko Haapala - drums
01. You Slept With A Wraith
03. Up In A Tree
04. Trying Game
05. The Lie
06. Swear Revenge
07. Kill Kill Kill
08. Sock Puppets
10. Love Movement
11. Bitter Tones Fall
Johanna Ahonen, transl. Klaudia Weber
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