Alunah – “Amber & Gold” EP (www.alunah.co.uk)
Battle Helm Rating
It’s been a year since the departure of founder vocalist guitarist Sophie Day, who fronted Alunah across 4 albums, including “Solennial” which was released earlier this year. Few actually wondered how and if these Brummie earth muthas could return but hey, they have – and in fine style too! However, as Sophie’s departure was for life choice reasons and given she is still working with the band behind the scenes, hubby guitarist Dave Day wasted no time in finding a replacement in Siân Greenaway – and what a catch she is too! Although not axe wielding like Sophie, Siân’s vocals are more powerful, resonating deeper sultry tones along with a goth touch that is an absolute winner. If you’re wondering if that’s detracted in anyway from the band’s heaviness, then don’t, cos “Amber & Gold” is heavier thanks to Dave cranking his axe up (or down) to an even more fuzzed tone that errs the band more towards Windhand, which is no bad thing! This 4 track self released EP is everything that it might suggest from its lush, suave cover, although it’s hardly commercial, opening with a short psych doom instrumental ‘Mangata’ led by Dave’s lead and Greenaway providing her ethereal harmonies in the wind. Then the title track rolls in on a massive down tuned groove and man, you are just whisked off to never never land as the addictive fuzz tones merge with Greenaway’s utterly possessing vocals and genteel wails – a true siren if there ever was one! Even heavier and more down tuned is ‘Awn’, where Greenaway’s soul contrasts beautifully with the fuzz axe demons of Dave and bassist Daniel Burchmore, before the incredible chorus of her sultry tones mixed with tender background harmonies makes for an ever so deadly mix. The EP ends somewhat bizarrely with a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, which although well done and doesn’t lessen the heaviness whatsoever, is somewhat ironic as this is the closest Greenaway actually comes to sounding like her predecessor! Still, if “Amber & Gold” is a foretaste of the splendour to come, then the new Alunah are set for big things, very big things indeed….