Hailing from Germany, and based in Manchester, Johanna Alba is an artist on the rise with her intimate and tranquil style of jazzy pop. ‘Silent Confirmation’ comes in a culmination of arrangements, ranging from delicate acoustic fingerpicked ballads, to full band performances, all the while remaining consistent with Johanna’s signature vocal tone.
Opening with the leading single ‘Silent Confirmation’, Alba’s fragile guitars produce a natural and subtle development, with angelic harmonies. Unafraid of dissonance, she pushes her comfort zone in harmonic writing in return for unconventional harmonies, before holding back with vulnerability at the choruses hook. At times her falsetto breaks a little too early, showing the raw emotion in her writing. Right off the bat this is no generic EP.
After a full band introduction on ‘Can’t Stand Your Love’, leading with an acoustic strummed chord progression that adds elements of fire, and an impressive half beat bridge, Alba’s talent in arrangement is evident. Following on with another broken down and raw track ‘Runaway’ develops a little less subtly, with flamenco elements combined with a dash of piano stride. It’s an interesting combination that doesn’t get enough gratification before lending itself to a poppy beat. Regardless it’s one of Alba’s stand out tracks as it pays homage to a variety of styles.
Once again ‘The Break’ leads with fragility and waves of harmonies, exchanging the full band for silky synthesizers now demonstrating the capability of the young soloists story telling – One step is just too much/ I don’t want to be anywhere but here/ the only one thing that I fear/ Is a change. It’s a folky track that never leads too far from the point, and breaks the theme of hybrid before fading out.
EP closer ‘All I Wanna Do’ returns to the safer poppier option, with feel good funky chords, finally reaching the promised jazz pop land. A perfect song that wouldn’t sound out of place in a summer soundtrack, it ends the release with a warm feeling, that catches the listener off guard with unexpected full band stabs. The stripped down bridge creates an excellent crescendo and deepening of additional instruments, that Johanna seems to specialise in.
‘Silent Confirmation’ is by no means the best of the artist’s repertoire. Given the option of her earlier tracks (‘This Is My Time’ for example), the new EP promises a welcome change to her style, and proves Johanna Alba is willing to go the distance to create a variety of different tracks and broaden her horizons as an excellent artist in the heart of Manchester.
‘Silent Confirmation’ will be available on April 29th 2016 via Beeline Records.
This Johanna Alba article was written by John Gittins, a Gigsoup contributor.