Album Review

Alma - Time Machine

She’s embracing a new sound that embraces her spiritual predecessors.

Alma - Time Machine
Alma’s approach to digesting a complicated relationship with fame (particularly as a finalist on Finland’s answer to Pop Idol) was once to chew it up and spew it back out over dry, erratic punk pop, with a massive middle finger and an abrasive (but infectious) attitude. Her 2020 debut ‘Have U Seen Her?’ stamped an exclamation mark over this, with her staple I-don’t-give-a-shit neon green hair to match. But on second record ‘Time Machine’, an entirely new – and red-headed - Alma pulls her guard down to reflect on more emotionally charged, intimate troubles – her origins, parents, twin sister, relationships, queer identity, pop star pressures and regrets – with a new sound that embraces her spiritual predecessors. Throughout, Alma sits within a kaleidoscope of psychedelic Scandipop pop-rock, each track swelling in whispering grandiosity, as if ABBA were put into a melting pot with Elton John, David Bowie, and even a bit of trippy newbies Lime Garden. There’s the glistening synths of ‘Everything Beautiful’ and ‘Tell Mama’; the bouzouki-led love song ‘Natalia’; a theatrical title track; and huge standout ‘One In A Million’. Myriad artists claim inspiration from pop music forebears, but very little succeed in honouring their hyperbolic melancholia: ‘Time Machine’ entirely revitalises it without slipping into imitation. And although Alma had once cemented herself as an artist with nihilist tendencies and a rebellious brand, her willingness to embrace queer theatrics means she’s just as prepared to take risks as before. Thank God, because who doesn’t love a little bouzouki?

Tags: Alma, Reviews, Album Reviews

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