Ms Mohammed previously operated under the moniker of Dana Jade, releasing an eponymous album of alt-blues songs in 2012 and earning a support slot with John Parish. Since then, she’s undergone a musical shift, which has occurred simultaneously with a seismic cultural shift. The world we live in now is defined by a landscape barely recognisable from that of 2012, and Ms Mohammed’s thrusting forth of her multicultural roots is both an act of defiance and inclusivity.
Billed as ‘an intoxicating blend of cultural influences [which] create a ground breaking sound’, ‘Alibi’ is a strong set. I usually scoff at claims of acts being ‘ground-breaking’, but this just may well be; incorporating recognisable alt-rock and indie tropes and drawing in a range of influences and instruments, there’s none the indie gimmickery of Cornershop here: these are taut, driving alt-rock tunes.
The title track brings it all as an opener, with thumping dhol drum percussion paired with gritty, low-down driving guitars and a vocal delivery that’s sultry and menacing at the same time, conjuring something compellingly exotic and with a real edge.
‘Pandora’ grinds a punky guitar and tense rhythm and pairs it with a breathy vocal delivery; there are hints of PJ Harvey and undisguised tension dominates, while there’s more of a post-punk vibe about ‘Never Again’. The production’s got that retro, low-budget vibe, and it works well with the spindly, chorus-heavy guitar sound.
The final track, ‘Written in Time’ marks another shift, built around a nagging guitar and looping, layered vocal that spins, hypnotic, toward the sky.
Born out of protest and a desire to break boundaries and oppression, ‘Alibi’ is engaging, uplifting, and different in the best possible way.