'mini ep' review ~ 'moonstone' ~ alphabetika

Band Name: Alphabetika
Genre: Acoustic
For Fans Of: New Ancestors, The Civil Wars, Sullivan & Gold
Location: Belfast

Alphabetika are a bit of an enigma. A quick google search of the group will produce a string of promising reviews and early airplay, while any real details appear scarce. For one thing, they describe themselves as 'a new band' with 'many influences, from many genres', which, (lets be honest), could mean anything. If you want to delve deeper into this curious ensemble, you can only really take in the the low-key vibes of their debut release 'Moonstone'.

This two track EP (demo perhaps?) lays down a short and sweet foundation for a band which will no doubt be striving to fill the New Ancestors shaped hole left in Belfast's music scene.

'Sam's Song's regretful verse is brought to life through delicate piano, playing over simple acoustic guitar strums. It's hardly rocket science, but nor is that the point. A mournful take on the ghosts of relationships past, here Alphabetika seem to wish their former lover//friend a happy tomorrow; there's no malice here, if a longing for what may have been. Think Damon Albarn's emotional sucker-punch 'No Distance Left To Run', but without the desperation.

As well structured as 'Sam's Song' undoubtedly is, you feel a certain gravitas is lost through it's repetitiveness. For the most part, it's a genuinely enjoyable listen; though just as it's gentle outro threatens to explode, it ends all to abruptly. As a first track it's certainly not a bad effort ~ you simply feel it's emotional vigor doesn't quite transfer from it's authors pen.

In contrast, 'Dirt In My Bones' is the first real indication Alphabetika are a different breed to Belfast's usual acoustic veterans. Moving with purpose and intent from the outset, everything from the bands subtly brilliant chord changes in it's chorus, to it's progressive drum beat sounds exciting and fresh. This time channeling an optimistic outlook, Alphabetika seem to suit the 'plucky underdog' aesthetic much more than the usual depressing bandwagon.

Though 'Moonstone' is much too short to warrant a place on the groups mantel-piece, as a starting point there's enough to suggest Alphabetika may go on to capitalise on their early spotlight.

Even if we're not ready to throw our hats into the ring just yet...

Taylor Johnson

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