Aiming for the stars, Scottish pop rock outfit Altered Sky prove that girls just want to have fun, no matter how many times their hearts are broken.
Half male, half female lineups are hard to come by, even in the broad-minded realms of pop punk. However, female-fronted pop punk-infused rock can fall short of either talent or purpose. Denounce the likes of Paramore, Tonight Alive and We Are The In Crowd if you wish, Altered Sky are an exception to the rule. From the onset, their debut ‘Without Wonderland’ slaps its heart on its sleeve and belts its lungs out, handing out a beautiful contribution to the ever-evolving, unforgiving genre.
Opener ‘This War Is Mine’ instantly establishes a catchy self-assurance through the versatile tones of frontlady Ana Nowosielska and the melodic stop-starts of guitarist Richard Passe. “Forget the stories and the lies, it’s true we share the same sky,” calls out the contagion of ‘Stupid in the Dark’ which will be running around your head for days, to the tune of a vivacious groove and stickswoman Amy Blair’s crucial presence.
The bark of ‘Apple Tree’ is worse than its bite, as Ana’s vocal twang proves she was born to perform, while her soothing presence in ‘Bury It All’ provides a sweet pop punk anthem refusing to give up. Similarly, ‘Live for It’ is tenacious in its existential discussion, coated in swathes of angelic tones, defiant in noting that, “We won’t stop until we die.”
Casting aside the damage of the past, ‘Livewire’ proves punchy and assertive, accompanied by a catchy riff, while ‘Songbird’ defines determination in true dreamy pop punk style. The album highlight appears through the solemn piano of ‘Imagine Adventure’, touching and soulful in its isolation of Ana’s vocals. Leading swiftly into ‘Waves’, its subdued opening soon bursts into punchy enthusiasm, before closing with a variety of tempos mashed into ‘White Witch’, promoting a feisty self-belief that the genre clearly needs.
Every second counts for Altered Sky, and not one is wasted on silence, atmospheric fillers or flawed notes. ‘Without Wonderland’ gives this youthful outfit a firm footing on a stellar trajectory.
’Without Wonderland’ by Altered Sky is out now.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)