Released: 4th March 2022
There’s always one day towards the beginning of the year when the sun rears its head again, and your hope starts to pique. That one day when you realise spring and summer aren’t as far off as it seems, you can probably start to do without your ginormous scarf, and you can have an iced latte without your hand near falling off with cold. The shackles of winter are cast off, and your optimism makes a new appearance. It’s a special day, and KAWALA happen to make music perfect for it.
Breezy but not blistering, their debut album ‘Better With You’ feels like the equivalent of those first rays of true sun. Their Afro-beat influences elevate the album into a non-stop mover, whilst lyrically their relentlessly sunny outlook provides an immediate lift. It practically twinkles with pure joy. The opener, ‘Hold Back The Years’, refers to a “turning of the tide”, and that’s precisely what ‘Better With You’ feels like. Despite their myriad of singles and EPs under their belts, this is KAWALA’s step onto their own feet, and they’re finally at their most self-assured.
The band’s distinctive harmonies shine against the driving, acoustic guitar lines of tracks like ‘Marathon’ but are equally at home on the more upbeat, high-energy moments like ‘Jesse C’mon’. It always feels as though there’s a teasing quality to their tone, even on more romantic moments like ‘Hypnotised’. It’s a playfulness that stems from the easy-going affection at the album’s core – connection and love are centred throughout, and the saccharine themes of the album are largely what keeps it light-hearted. They’re confident, but more importantly, they’re content. In capturing that, they spread the same feeling. A limitless momentum pushes KAWALA through the album, and it makes it all too easy to get caught up in that euphoria with them.