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Cohlaj (I assume pronounced as COAL and LAG) are a Sydney based band who pride themselves on the genre “indietronica”. Cohlaj are a baby band, only arriving on the scene in early 2015, but their sound is anything but little. The only words that come to mind when listening to their new EP Audiomeal are ‘jarringly sophisticated’.
Do you have a hunger that mediocre music won’t satisfy? Do you crave the very best of Sydney’s synth-pop movement? Then help yourself to Audiomeal from Cohlaj.
The band is a threesome comprised of Javier Torres (beats and programming), Alicia Quinn (vocals) and Jesse Ledesma (guitar). Together they produce a unique mix of chopping, rearranging and mixing that forms their sound and each song holds values to a different time and genre. Gravity, The first song on the EP is similar to heavyweights Deadmau5 or Purity Ring slowly building with soulful synth beats then melding into 90’s style Madonna. The vocals are very smooth and even giving the song a ballad feel, blending well with the beat.
The band has a wide range of influences including Kimbra, Robyn and Sbtrkt. There sound is seductive but sometimes silly and definitely fun. Quinn is also a performer at a cabaret bar, which may have influences the next track on the EP, Wild Thing. This track is worlds away from the Gravity. It is a lively jazz influenced number that incorporates the synth beats but showcases a lot more of Ledesma’s talents on the guitar. The vocals are a little faster and features scatting that just adds to the awesome uniqueness of this band.
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Table Manners is one of the stranger songs on the EP. The sound is a lot more synth heavy and there is a lot of strange sampling and tempo changing but it all works with song’s style (like I said jarring but in a good way). The vocals on this one start as a phone call and then develop from there, however the context of the song is rather risqué and worth the listen.
Liar Liar is more of a synth-pop ballad, the song has a soothing melody; very soft and subtle building in tempo which fits perfect with the theme of the song. There is some familiar sampling of odd sounds that you’ll come to love from Cohlaj; the lyrics are soft and subtle but build slowly as the song goes on to a panicked finish.
The last track off the EP is Memories, which is one of the slower songs; it follows the same smooth synth sound as Liar Liar with an almost underwater range of sampling. The lyrics are not the feature of this track but the gargled technique used gives the song a very unique depth.
Cohlaj are definitely a band to watch, they may be fresh and a little raw but their sound is just as vibrant and unique. This group of oddballs will definitely make their mark on the Sydney music scene.