Review of Malka supported by Mokusla.

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Hug and Pint, Glasgow.
11th of November 2023.

Review by Paul Taggart

Tucked away in the basement of a Scottish pub on a cold November’s night did unfurl a quality night of independently minded, female-fronted electronic-tinged indie pop acts. Now this sort of thing is completely out of my ballpark, I like Limp Bizkit, Mayhem and the Stooges. I routinely careen into mosh pits like an f1 racing car with wonky steering, but as I am in my forties I should really know better, so I refrained from such childish behaviour tonight.

I would have been thrown out otherwise, probably. I want to think so anyway.

Back on track, this gig is a launch night for the hometown headliner Malka’s (aka former 6 Day Riot frontwoman Tamara Schlesinger) excellent new album ‘Anatomy of Sight’, a fine slice of burbling and bleeping synth rock mixed with modern alternative pop. But before the main act comes support from Mokulsa, an Irish solo act aka Lou Rowland, who is indebted to 80s 4ad dreamy soundscapes and swoonsome but chilled electronic pop.

The artist is on their own and conveys vulnerability through her brittle keyboard-driven ethereal music. I nodded my head throughout, it takes a lot of guts to convey such emotion by yourself and Mokulsa gets a thumbs up for that alone, along with the quality of the tunes on offer as well. Mokulsa is also a visual artist, you get that feeling from the care put into what is on display that there is thought put into every note of music that is heard tonight.

Onto the main act Malka comes across as Led Zeppelin compared to Mokusla, nothing equal sound-wise to that 70s and, merely being the fact there is a full band on display here and the music is supple, happy, sad and at times muscular. The emotion and quality that come across are just as bare and honest as Mokulsa. Still, Malka owns the stage, bearing a garish headgear that seems to consist of colourful soft play balls stitched together and commanding the audience like Kate Bush on steroids.

There are many things in the mixing pot tonight, Saint Etienne comes to mind, and at other times, the soundtrack work of Francis Monkman along with the brutal honesty of someone like Katie Jane Garside. As soon as I can put a finger on something, it moves sideways and you always remain perplexed, pints imbibed besides, and wanting to hear more. There is an inherent melancholy to some of the music as in such tunes on display as Out Of Body and Detachment yet, on the set closer to Flashlight there is a positive buzz on display, the sort of energy that could power fifty shitty pop punk bands and still leave room for a fireworks display afterwards.

Top drawer, looking forward to more from both acts in the future from both acts.

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