Aja Volkman, an underrated figure of talent has released her solo debut album Sandy, an album that paints Aja as the girl next door and invites us in to experience an authentic story of benevolence. Once a former female front for the LA rock trio Nico Vega, and a successful collaboration with Emily Kohal, part of the collective of quirky indie band War Paint, Aja Volkman derives from a background of quintessentially cool underground music.
The album begins with Volkman’s number one hit single ‘My Man’, a personal treasure consigned to the mellow vintage sound Volkman creates. With a voice like velvet, her soft amiable vocals leave us dazed, a familiar feeling experienced from a state of romance. Crossing similarities with serene voices like Laura Marling and Maggie Rogers, Volkman infuses a modern bluesy style with 1950’s disco rock and roll, and she performs this so gracefully that I almost find myself lost in a Grease Musical.
As we shift from song to song, the style experiments from blues to country, in “Deep Love” and “Husband” the mood redefines the tone into a sincere light hearted impression, as opposed to her original innocent sensation. Volkman proves herself as a capable musician, exercising the strength in her vocals and taking complete control of the music. The use of the traditional musical pallet of the guitar, drums and piano merge into a trouble-free flowing melody, and this is what makes us fall in love with her unique sound.
Each track has its own personal story, and this is clear upon the variation in the genre it depicts. ‘Skeletons’ I would call the most modern and catchy tune of the bunch, and the track that speaks the most truth. Volkman illuminates the darkness of past bad decisions, “I made choices that I’m gonna have to live with/I’ve been places that I shouldn’t have gone”, and through the bright hooks and optimistic rhythm she ameliorates a memory of melancholy, “I’ll wait for a mission/I’ll wait for the truth/I’ll wait for whatever you want me to do”.
Whilst ‘Skeletons’ is built upon a happy-go-lucky style of tone, ‘Cracked’, which is seemingly disparate, is a portal into Volkman’s vulnerability. Whilst exposing her hidden anxiety and misconceptions, she overcomes these fears by tackling the nostalgia head on and facing her inner demons. The lethargic and quiet tone the melody leads with intensifies the ambience and keeps us on edge, and through this Volkman engages us with her susceptible emotions, ending the album on a touching high.
‘Sandy’ is out May 19th and you can get Aja’s brand new single ‘My Man’ as an instant grat when you pre-order the album from April 28th.
Words By Aly Mchugh