During its first incarnation, in the late 80s and early 90s, shoegaze was not really what one would describe as a ‘muscular’ subgenre of music. More wistful, and ethereal, forcefulness was left to the grunge and burgeoning post-hardcore crews. NYC based nugaze/dreampop group MALKA seem to want to challenge that narrative. While not as bludgeoning as Philadelphia’s Nothing, The Constant State, MALKA’s debut EP, sets its stall early as a more full bodied iteration of shoegaze, going on to amalgamate the soaring sound scapes of post-rock, and dreamy melodies of dream-pop into their sonic melting pot.
Opener ‘Flock of Crows’ is a sterling example. The track sports a MBV-esque guitar squall, driving drums, and the ever effective loudQUIETloud approach. It’s an impressively aggressive blast, that doesn’t shaft melody in the process. It kind of sounds like if Kevin Shields had decided that MBV really needed a drummer like John Bonham. Next track ‘For Now We Live’ sees the band veer off into post-rock territory, as soaring vocals and guitar lines intertwine in a very M83 circa Before The Dawn Heals Us kind of way. Elsewhere, the duo of Spanish language tracks ‘Mientras Se Respira’, and ‘Corazon Sin Sangre’ sees the group experiment with more laid-back dream-pop sounds.
Despite this genre hopping, the whole effort is draw together seamlessly. The enthusiastic drumming endures there is never an unwanted lull, and in fact the EP’s 33 minute running time goes by in what seems like a blink. There’s much to admire here, from the accomplished musicianship, to the engrossing sound-scapes, but what is most evident is the enthusiasm. MALKA obviously love music, and more importantly, love their music. Give them a listen. If you regret it, you can slap me in the face.
The Constant State was released on March 2nd. It can be purchased via Bandcamp.