England In 1819: Alma

England In 1819’s Alma starts out as soft-spoken, like the shore on a waveless day. But much like the sea, the release is unpredictable with choppy bits of roaring drums thrown in. The septet, which started as a trio made up of a father and his two sons, has an indie folk sound driven by the band’s current Southern roots as well as the founding members’ upbringing in the countryside of England. Although the tracks vary in length, each one seems like it goes on for much longer than it actually does, even the barely two minute “Emily Jane.”

Much like many Southern-based musicians, there is a sense of hopelessness and heartache on England In 1819’s sophomore album. What really stands out about this band is the way soprano opera singer Zuly Inirio complements and seamlessly fits in with vocalist Andrew Callaway and his brooding tone. England In 1819 steps out of their soft shell during “Chaplin Speaks,” which is a drum heavy rip current that sucks one in and leaves them breathless by the time they are released. Much like an underwater abyss, “Littil Batur” is an acoustic instrumental piece that soothes the soul and brings a serene feel to Alma. During “Skyscraper” the band mixes up their sound when they counteract the dreary keys and vocals by picking up the tempo a couple of minutes into the song.

Overall, “Waterfall” ended up being my favorite on the disc because of the chilling tone in Callaway’s voice and the soaring guitar riffs that lead into the vivacious drums. Alma ends with the title track, which is the longest and most dramatic one on the release—aiding in making the closing just as diverse as the beginning.

In A Word: Somber