On this blog, we love to emphasise time and again just how great Malta’s live music scene is. 2017’s first few months are already looking to be extremely vibrant in terms of concerts, with a rich mix of local and foreign acts promising to leave their mark all over our shores (Iron Maiden’s ex-singer, Blaze Bailey, is one such act, and you don’t need to be a spandex-wearing rocker to find that exciting).
However, because our affinity lies with all things Maltese, this article is going to focus specifically on a local band, nosnow/noalps, that will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary just a few days later on the 17th of February. Taking place at The Palace Theatre in Paola, the concert is titled ‘Moving Mountains – 10 Years of nosnow/noalps’. Tickets are priced at €12 per seat or €15 at special tables seating four. You can find much more information at the event page here. [Link to https://www.facebook.com/events/1204790536230876/]
‘Iron Maiden, nosnow/noalps are not’, you might be thinking. ‘What makes this Maltese band worth my time?’ For anybody who might be new to the Maltese music scene, it’s a fair question. If you were to dig just a little deeper, though, you’d find out that nosnow/noalps are one of the more important bands in the Maltese rock scene.
The band formed in 2007, and released its debut EP, (just rock), a year later. Whether the choice of title was ironic or not is uncertain, but what is certain that (just rock) is definitely not a straightforward rock EP. A benchmark for the trademark nosnow/noalps sound, (just rock) featured bouncy guitar riffs, but these were coupled with poppy, catchy vocals (both male and female) and ska/reggae-influenced rhythms. Check out the trademark single from this era, Taking My Time, to see just what we mean:
It’s not surprising, then, that when nosnow/noalps began making waves, they were waves that stuck. The band had a distinctive sound that was unique without being cluttered – rooted enough in the rock genre to make your head bop but diverse enough to stray away from the conventions of the genre.
When the band entered the studio to record its first full-length album in 2010, expectations were high. Those expectations were met in the form of ROMANTIKPOLITIK, an album that is still considered to be a favourite in the local scene today. The release not only captured the sound that fans had come to expect from the band, but it presented it in a more mature, 14-track format. Notable singles from this time, to name a few, include Far into the Night (Without You) and Elizabeth, I.
After that, the band entered a new era, with a few notable line-up changes and a move to Denmark that lasted a good few months. The result of that new life was Go Go Go Go, the band’s 3rd release, launched in 2014. With this album, nosnow/noalps did the smart thing and evolved its sound slightly. Flourishes of ROMANTIKPOLITIK are evident, of course, but the album is far from ROMANTIKPOLITIK PT. 2. Indeed, one pleasant surprise on the album is the inclusion of more aggressive and punky influences on certain tracks, such as Black Panther, which has a nice amount of grit while still being a danceable party song.
Unfortunately, fans have to wait a little bit for news regarding a new album, but Kaleidoscopes, a mesmerising single released in 2015 scratched the itch for a good while. Featuring dreamy guitar tones and a heavy emphasis on trumpet, Kaleidoscopes is one of the band’s strongest songs yet – but that’s only whet our collective appetite for even more new material.
The 17th of February is not about new material, though. Rather, it’s about celebrating the rich discography that nosnow/noalps has given us in its current 10-year old story. Such is the case that the band will be accompanied by numerous guests, many of whom can be directly traced to the band’s history.
Let’s turn back to the question we posed at the beginning of this article: ‘What makes nosnow/noalps worth your time?’
Here, we’re not simply dealing with a Maltese band that has been around for 10 years. There are plenty of those already. Rather, this is a band that has done a whole lot in those 10 years. With a handful of releases and even more anthems that are iconic on a local level, nosnow/noalps is a band that represents the pinnacle of creativity and hard work in the Maltese music scene. If that’s not worth your time, we don’t know what is.