Aliso, the forthcoming debut album from Malena Zavala, is the kind of collection that feels as if it could only come from far-flung places across the years. Born in Argentina but raised in London, Zavala cut her teeth playing in a band with her older brother until he moved to California. She was initially lost, then struck out on her own — eventually decamping to his house across one ocean and one country and striking inspiration for her new solo work.
The end result is a series of songs that are rooted in Zavala’s experience, tracing themes including “cultural identity, self-doubt, acceptance … [and] miscommunication between cultures.” Appropriately, subtle rhythmic allusions to Latin music underpin and twist urbane textures and searching dream-pop vocals, all of it coming together under the California sun into a fried, hazy aesthetic that conjures aimless journeys up and down the Golden Coast looking for a revelation. At times, Aliso sounds like a languid watercolor affair, a yearning vocal or specific hook acting as the punctuations, the linchpins in Zavala’s life.
Zavala has been previewing Aliso for a few months now, from early looks at “If It Goes” and “Should I Try” through to the recent, humid night paean “Could You Stay.” Now, she’s returning with “A Vision That’s Changed.” Zavala’s newest single unfolds patiently, at first sparse and plaintive until it gradually builds to a gorgeous outro full of layered vocals and aqueous guitars. It’s another promising glimpse of Aliso, and you can check it out below.
Aliso is out 4/13 via Yucatan Records. Pre-order it here.