Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Alva - ja tik butu... CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.91 | 4 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A female fronted Latvian group from the mid-Seventies that were actually based in England, Alva are regarded as a prog-folk group, but they're a lot more varied and complex than just that! Despite many of their tunes being grounded in more typically folk-based melodies, the tunes on their sole debut work from 1977 `Ja Tik Būtu' worked in everything from little traces of acid rock, psychedelic pop, Sixties garage toughness, loose jazzy runs and an almost punky murkiness (you can even hear the guitars struggling to stay in tune here and there throughout the album!), making for a very unpredictable and colourful album with a charming do-it-yourself production.

The title track opener is a melancholic pop tune with Diana Ābols' weary purring voice over chiming electric guitars , and `Pilsēta Kurā Piedzimst Vējs' is the first folkier interlude where one of the fellas takes the lead vocal (unsure which member), a gently manic tone to his voice! Buoyant bass and jangling ragged guitars on both `Kopā' and `Svesinieks' sound like lost proto-punky girl-group rockers from the early Sixties, and the much more ambitious seven minute psychedelic epic `Akts' holds wonderfully shambling acoustic guitars strums, dreamy keyboards , scratchy dingy pipes, rambunctious drumming, and Diana's treated voice taking on an eerie unhinged snarl to close the first side.

The baffling and out-of-place tough psych rocker `Vilcienu dziesma' opens the second side with the guys growling unbearably, but thankfully the ragged electric guitars and runaway bass keeps things interesting! `Miglā' is bookend by spiky up-tempo indie rock guitars, and despite being sweetly sung, there's a weary tone to `Ziemeļvēji'. Reaching electric guitars drone manically and twist between pumping bass and bashing drums throughout the raga-like `Es Izkūlu' (with the second half throwing in a deliciously putrid and rough-as-guts reinterpretation of the melody of `Mary had a Little Lamb'!), and `Jo Beigas Ir Klāt' is a sombre and contemplative folk rumination to close on.

Despite a variation on the group reactivating in the new millennium, `Ja Tik Būtu' remains the sole Alva release to date, which makes it even more unique and precious. Many rare and mostly unknown prog-related albums are seeing reissues these days, and while many turn out to be forgettable, lost to the ages with good reason, some are exciting little obscurities in desperate need of fresh exposure and reappraisal. In that respect, `Ja Tik Būtu' is a refreshingly out-of-time album that proves to be hugely addictive and enjoyable, and prog/acid-folk and garage/psych fans should investigate this welcome female-led curio immediately!

Probably really a three star album, but well worth four stars if you come to love it!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this ALVA review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.