WHAT Alpha - Come From Heaven
WHEN Bristol - 28 April 1998
This is so Autumnal you can practically hear the leaves falling off the dreams. It’s a record that sounds like a season changing and ebbing away. Hypnotic, lush and intoxicating, it’s cast in the softest of light like the golden hour before sunset or a room lit by candles.
Alpha got pegged as part of the trip-hop scene - they were signed to Massive Attack’s Melankolic label, came from Bristol and had fuzzy beats - but over the last 18 years I think they’re proved that they’re so much more than that. For a debut album, “Come from Heaven” is audaciously fully formed and has stood the test of time.
“Sometime Later” is the slow burning classic at the centre of the album which takes the spirit of, and samples, Lee Hazlewood’s “My Autumn’s Done Come” and repositions as a post-club implosion. About five minutes in - when Martin Barnard sings “Something, something tells me that you have something” - it marks a turn in tone and temperature as it begins to soar, spiral and then unravel. Alpha’s masterstroke is their use of vocals whose intimacy and fragility create an soulfulness that marks it out from most humdrum electronica.