Malena Zavala, Wovoka Gentle: Sound, Liverpool

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Malena Zavala

Malena Zavala brings her unique take on dream-pop to Sound’s basement, and just about makes herself heard above the racket upstairs, Getintothis’ Steven Doherty surveys the scene.

Liverpool tonight is home to a lot a things, heavy rain, busy pubs, half and half scarves and luckily for us, there’s some music in a basement.

Sound is heaving, but, alas, it’s upstairs where the loud football watching crowd hold sway.

For the cool kids downstairs, we see at the side of the stage, just before they go on, the 3 members of Wovoka Gentle embrace.

All dressed in white, they look focused whilst trying to ignore the palpable lack of numbers in the room.

The acapella nature of the first two songs get the crowd’s attention from the start. It’s a chilling, two keyboardist (is that a word?) combo, flanking the main guitarist with a sparse electro element.

They describe themselves as folk, but there’s not much of that in the early part of the set, only evident later on with the addition of a violin adding a haunting element.

The London trio swap roles, and turn into a techno thump, of all things. There’s so much going on, it’s uplifting Fleet Foxes with a female voice sound that has the single figure (unfortunately) crowd bobbing along, so much so that they then, admirably, try to make themselves sound so much louder with their appreciation.

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The set closer sees the angelic vocals replaced by an almost primeval roar, the trio putting their heart into it as if they were playing to thousands and the those that are in attendance, look forward to the day when they can gloat that they were there.

Their June released debut album should see the numbers increase. Absolutely scintillating.

Wovoka Gentle

Malena Zavala provides us with catchy dream pop straight from the off. Her debut album Aliso has been out for just over 12 months now, so it’s a tight set.

Moon Song is the most ambient moment of the early exchanges, but the mood reaches a Latin fever pitch after Zavala explains how she was “born in Argentina, but lived in London, so has never felt like belonging anywhere“, resulting in a crescendo of a flamenco onslaught.

The mood is brought back down with Could You Stay, and it’s noticeable that even on the quieter songs such as this, there’s no audience chatter, it’s a captivated room, and the epic album closer I Never Said It sends the mood to just plain spellbound.

A new song, Hold Me Close sees Zavala venture from keys to guitar, and it’s the loudest song of the night, signalling a possible change of direction even at this early stage.

They end with Should I Try and A Vision That’s Changed, two of the album highlights, showcasing what a tight backing band she has assembled.

An absolute treat of an evening for the chosen few, the real winners were downstairs rather than up.

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