Tirana is the capital city of Albania and its main cultural hub. Via Tirana began as the solo vehicle of Albanian born but UK reared Genti Aliaj but later morphed into a full band whose influential leanings are centered around bands of ‘90s era Sub Pop records (think of a musical rainbow of bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Sebadoh, Sunny Day Real Estate et al.) and they add to these influences a little bit of electronica and kraut rock in the vein of Stereolab and LCD Sound System. These musings can all be heard on their poetically titled debut five-song EP The Colours Are Always There. The record contains four original tracks as well as a remixed track by Albanian electronic producer/musician Uj Pa Gaz.
The Colours Are Always There opens with the controlled fury of energy that is “Girl.” It hums along with intricate guitars, thumping bass and a steady buzz of white noise that brought about reminiscences of Atlanta’s The Agenda! This leads into the woozy electro-centric “Ledio, Të Lutem!” which is sung in Aliaj’s native Albanian. It turns into a slow building dirty blues rock track that sounds dark and angry, and also pretty awesome.
The tune also has a bit of a repetitive pop element to it. This bleeds into the slightly more upbeat English sounding version of itself with the spastic guitar-electronic elements of “Boy,” which glistens with screeching feedback that Sonic Youth was so good at putting to great use making such a jarring sound come off as symphonic in a way.
Ever the great experimenters themselves Via Tirana doesn’t seem to want to pigeonhole themselves on such a short span of time as an EP and so offer up the foreboding “Eldorado” which showcases more use of electronics and noise (via Aliaj’s dark muffled screams) and some ‘80s almost Cure-sounding instrumentation. This is even more evident on the tracks remix by Uj Pa Gaz, which acts as a smoky mirror to the original.
The Colours Are Always There is a brief foray into the world that Via Tirana is exploring. It’s a great late night album, one I recommend listening to with the lights low or nonexistent and perhaps a drink and few worries on your mind. Over the EP’s five songs your cares will melt away as your sucked into the wondrous music Via Tirana make.
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