Alma review, XOYO, London: Ushering in a new generation of pop music

Finnish pop star is joined by her twin sister for a short and sweet set of debut tracks

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 31 August 2017 10:26
Alma performs at XOYO in London
Alma performs at XOYO in London

An eerie voice precedes Alma's appearance onstage at XOYO, telling fans to expect her in 3... 2... 1...

The Finnish pop-punker strides onto the stage, her neon-yellow hair resplendent. Beside her is twin sister Anna-Livia, sporting a buzz cut dyed the same colour.

Alma has only four songs on Spotify but already boasts top 10 tracks around Europe; single "Chasing Highs" has been streamed more than 56 million times.

Why? Because she sings about the mistakes we make when we're young, and about refusing to regret them – about the feelings, however fleeting, we experience in our late teens and early twenties.

So the self-explanatory "Drunk Tattoos" precedes "Addicted", and she belts each song out like a pro, albeit with a refreshing slice of raw punk attitude.

Along with other young stars – Sigrid, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, SKOTT, Dagny – Alma is ushering in a new generation of fierce, female-led pop music.

Forgetting a verse during "Chasing Highs" she shrugs it off and laughs her way into the chorus, as her sister takes a swig from a bottle of rosé.

Alma's debut "Karma", which recalls Rag'n'Bone Man's retro-soul on "Wolves", includes the lyric: "I bring the karma to your game/You'd better run, run yeah/That bitch don't play." Well, quite.

Closing her set, she dives from the stage and, thanks to a willing, determined crowd, surfs all the way to the back of the room.

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Flushed and ecstatic at the reaction from this packed London room she is led backstage, hair still glowing in the dark.

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