To call a band like Alunah mere "stoner doom" does it an immense disservice, and I'm hoping that the British quartet's new album, Solennial, banishes it from their kingdom once and for all. Sure, sometimes the riffs take on a certain smoky, languid quality, and the pace rarely kicks above an amble, but otherwise, Alunah's sound owes far more to psychedelic 70s rock, classic doom, and even goth rock. It's satisfyingly heavy, but also manages to soar—and to roll out the odd solo to keep things grooving. In a crowded nest of subgenres, Alunah truly stands out.
As is typical with this particular kind of music, the most potent allure resides within the vocals, whose power (or lack thereof) can make or break a bid for success. Luckily for Alunah, their guitarist Sophie Day is also possessed of an amazingly rich voice, one that's almost supernaturally suited to the sustained notes and grandiose, folklore-inflected tales she spins. Paired with the quiet, insistent power of the riffs, her vocals—whether she's delivering them as an airy croon, a full-throated paen to the wonders of nature, or with a sly wink—are intoxicating. If you need a little something to get your spirits up and your head bobbing at your desk this afternoon, this record is exactly the cure for whatever malaise ails you.
Day commented, "After a long few months of keeping these songs to ourselves, we are thrilled to be revealing them via Noisey. Whilst writing and recording Solennial we went through the worst kind of grief, losing parents and watching other family members battle illness. Writing this album has given us strength, kept us from falling apart and has offered a certain catharsis. Chris Fielding was amazing to work with, during what was a difficult time for us personally. It feels like the most complete album we have written, it is the one we are most proud of and we are staggered by the incredible response it has received so far. Solennial is the album we have been leading up to for 11 years."
Stop wasting time, and go listen to Solennial below—it's out March 17 via Svart Records.