As EPs go, this release by Birmingham doomsters Alunah is perhaps a necessary one. In the wake of their founder/head vocalist Sophie Day leaving the band last year, the need to establish her replacement, Siân Greenaway, as quickly as possible means Amber & Gold (self-released) has a purpose, if nothing else.
For the most part, it succeeds as an introduction. Opener ‘Mangata’ is a rather formulaic instrumental which soon overstays its welcome. But things gather pace with title track ‘Amber & Gold’, which has a suitably heavy throb to the droning guitar, yet most significantly, makes use of Greenaway’s vocals for the first time.
The stand-out track, however, is ‘Awn’. Musically, it’s a bit less impactful than the title track, but this is where Greenaway really demonstrates her range, and it’s bloody amazing, her repeated crescendos being the song’s main hook. In that sense, it’s a perfect introduction. If the title track was the rest of the band reporting all present and correct, this is where their new vocalist makes her mark.
So it all rather peters out a bit with the final track, ‘Wicked Game’, as first warbled by Chris Isaak. A clear bit of filler designed to pad out the EP, it neither adds much to the original, nor really stretches the band. True, Greenaway gets to flex her vocals once more, but frankly this is nowhere near as dazzling as the preceding track.
So what to make of it? Maybe this wasn’t the best EP Alunah could have made. It is certainly not the most consistent, but as said, it is the one they had to make at this point.
In any case, they now have a great vocalist, so that next LP had better be smoking…
6.5 / 10