Gala is the new band-backed project of Aley Waterman. They’ll be releasing their fabulous new EP, Young Hymns, this Saturday night at The Ship, and you’ll want to be there. They’re playing with pals Green & Gold and Ilia Nicoll.
Young Hymns is an immediately engaging album. The title track opens the album quietly, but with the promise of building to something interesting, and it’s a promise the song delivers on within thirty seconds. Wild, rolling drums kick in and complement Aley’s primary instrument, the piano, escalating the song to something altogether remarkable. Throughout the album, the instrumentation is sophisticated yet subtle, unrestrained, yet highly ordered. These four ethereal, emotive songs pack more punch than must albums muster with 10 songs, in part thanks to the first-rate production value courtesy of Tyler Lovell and Bryan Lowe, who add nice haunting tones and textures to Aley’s voice and piano. Clever panning tricks, thoughtful bursts of reverb, well-placed handclaps, and perfectly timed gang vocals populate and propel the album to Must-Hear status. The song structures are anything but verse-chorus-verse, keeping them interesting from the opening notes onwards. These songs build, bob, sway, swell and retreat with remarkable effect. The first three tracks open soft and quickly explode with keys, subdued lead work, and some exceptionally innovative, and utterly impressive drum work from Ashley Chalmers, who deserves a medal of honour for his work on this album.
The album closes quietly with “Little Fires,” a song featuring Aley alone with her piano. Placing this song at the end, after the bigger, bolder tracks was a clever move: it’s a quiet, cutting beauty that lets her voice and songwriting shine. Young Hymns is a pure, powerful album. Go and get it this Saturday night at The Ship.