Album Review: Lake Malawi – We Make Love Again EP

By on Monday, 8th June 2015 at 12:00 pm
 

Making it in one’s own country is a Big Deal. I mean, if you could take a time machine back to 1963 Liverpool, the Beatles would have wholeheartedly agreed with you on that. But imagine the struggle to make it in the English-speaking world when your first language isn’t English! Lake Malawi are a band from the Czech Republic splitting their time between Prague and their adopted city London, and they come from Czech indie band royalty of recent memory. Frontman Albert Cerny (vocals / guitar) and drummer Pavel Pilch were formerly of Charlie Straight, an indie rock band that won the MTV Europe Award for Best Czech and Slovak Band back to back in 2010 and 2011, toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and caught the eye of Coldplay, who posted one of their videos on their own Web site. Not bad, eh?

With the new band led by Cerny, the sound remains in the same genre – Britpop-tinged indie rock – but at their appearance at the Old Ship Paganini Ballroom Thursday at the Great Escape 2015, I also sensed a dance party element. Maybe that was just in the moment, as this feel is largely absent from ‘We Are Making Love Again’, their new EP released at the end of May: on most of the five songs in the collection, the focus seems instead on writing anthemic pop for that rush of blood to the head (sorry).

Curiously, the EP begins tentatively, with the first full minute of the tune starring only Cerny’s vocals and a strummed acoustic guitar. After that, band members’ harmonies and a slew of jaunty piano chords work towards an uplifting build. It’s repetitive, but it’s reasonably enjoyable nevertheless. The midpoint, ‘Aubrey’, has boppy Little Comets-esque guitars, a rhythm that gently chugs along and faultless harmonies. There’s another upbeat number in ‘Young Blood’, a calisthenics workout, before the album slows things down with closer ‘Day for Finding Someone’, reminiscent of yearning ’80s New Wave number.

Far more rousing is EP standout ‘Chinese Trees’, its lively piano and synths and Cerny’s voice full of wonder coming together for something like a melodious cross between Coldplay and Crowded House. Themes of loneliness and escape are explored, with Cerny resolutely declaring, “if you can’t go back to / where we’ll leave it at / where we’ll leave it at / don’t!” If there’s anything emphatic to take away from this EP, be sure to have a listen to it: this band is going places.

7.5/10

‘We Are Making Love Again’, the debut EP from Lake Malawi, is out now.

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