I’m Not Your Soldier

So this time it’s personal. That’s the sound out for the third album by Glasgow’s Tamara Schlesinger, who has written songs for TV shows and films such as Skins and 127 Hours after making waves as frontwoman of acclaimed alt-folk collective 6 Day Riot.

If you think that may result in an album heavy on balladic confessionals, think again. It marks a shift from the more acoustic earnestness of her previous band to pristine, dynamic synthpop with just enough of a twist to keep those with an ear for quirk happy. This is wall-to-wall early 90s dynamic indie-pop, like St Etienne with new production techniques and equipment to play with.

Produced by Paul Savage, who has worked with Franz Ferdinand, King Creosote and Mogwai, this is definitely not Capital fodder.

The bright-eyed A New World starts this oft afrobeat-influenced party going and, like most of the album, fights womanfully to stay the right side of bubblegum. Next up comes the pounding Get Up with a neat sitar-sounding air and its “come on, let’s go and break the mould” refrain, as if putting a fist in the air to create a revolution. The song, like the whole album, is coated, however, in slightly sugary pop, which, while engaging, can hardly be described as subversive.

It, however, typifies the former international gymnast’s relentless pursuit of earworm hooks, mesmeric percussive rhythms and neatly fashioned synth melodies with some weirdness and psychedelia but not too much to put off a general audience.

It’s the album’s positive, independent outlook that is its charm, with Moving Together’s starry-eyed “ooh la la la” hook and irrepressible “moving come on come on together” message one of the standout tunes.

Schlesinger returned permanently to her native Glasgow from London, as much to work with Savage than anything else, and it is his ability to let the sequinned elements breathe that make this all work. The only ballad comes at the end and it is the beautiful lullaby Close Your Eyes that shows Malka at her most obviously intimate. It was written for her daughter and son. After the politically charged 2017 album Ratatat, this is a joyous life-affirming return and the Scot’s most consistent and appealing album yet.