I'm Not Your Soldier​

Tantrum Records​ ​

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

Now 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 synth pop 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, playing like a St Etienne with new production techniques and equipment to play with.​ Produced by Paul Savage, who has worked with Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand, King Creosote 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 of the album, is coated, however, in a slightly sugary pop coating, which while engaging, can hardly be described as subversive.​ It 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 is 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 on offer.​

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.​

Nine tracks in comes the breathy Tiny Fires, a delightful example of how the light-and-shade production and inventive art-pop sensibilities come together to striking effect.

READ MORE: Top 100 Tunes from Scotland in 2019 Part 3 (50-26)

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.

What does the artist say?

“I think it’s fair to say it’s more personal,” she says. “When I first started doing MALKA I didn’t want to sound like 6 Day Riot. I didn’t pick up a single acoustic instrument, I didn’t try to emulate that sound. Ratatatat then had a formula which I stuck with…but for this album I just felt more confident. It felt like an amalgamation of the two parts of me. And it’s more honest about the sound I wanted to create.

“Lyrically it is very much about where I am in life and also not overthinking it in terms of how I’m feeling.

“There’s a lyric on the album about two worlds aligning, and that’s about the mum ‘me’ and the musician ‘me’ trying to balance in my life again. It is very personal, and previously with 6DR and MALKA there was social commentary or me singing through characters - I didn’t do that this time and it felt nice, actually!

"It was an organic process with me and Paul. I recorded a lot of it on my own and the weird noises you can hear I created at home. I went into the studio with Paul and said ‘here’s my mess of an album, let’s try and make this into something that makes sense!’

"I think a lot of producers would have immediately tried to clean it up - but Paul just said, no. What we had was the album. So we created around what I had recorded. It was really natural, and it was quite personal in terms of the mood of the song, and it felt right to go with the songs as they are. I’m really proud of it.”

Of Close Your Eyes, she said: "“I wrote that for the kids. I sing it to my son every night - he asks for it and he falls asleep to it. He’s asked his dad to sing it to him, asked his gran to sing it to him - he’s probably going to have some weird thing as an adult where someone has to sing to him to get him to sleep. I’ve probably messed him up for life!"

Malka's album launch gig is at Stereo in Glasgow on March 6.