Mallory Knox

Pilot EP

Written by: TL on 25/03/2012 20:13:02

Dear friends and readers - excuse me for reaching for a cliché but I urge you, do NOT judge "Pilot EP", the debut release from young British upstarts Mallory Knox, by it's dodgy cover art - because here's an EP that came out as long ago as last July, one which I am in no way obliged to review, and yet I'm taking the time to write about it anyway, simply because I think here's a band too promising for you all to not be along for their ride from the start.

Mallory Knox are a young quintet who came together as late as 2009 and on this first EP of theirs, they join in the reactionary movement against the shallow turn emo/post-hardcore-tinged rock has taken in later years, demonstrating a will to write songs that are both catchy, dramatic, organic and powerful in sound and effectively creating a product that sounds quite a bit like "Hours"-era Funeral For A Friend. A comparison made not just because singer Mikey Chapman sounds similar to a certain Matthew Davies-Kreye when he allows a bit of roughness into his stretched croons, but also because of the way him and his bands sound like they thrown themselves into some grand dramatic moments of music with an urgency and authenticity that hasn't been seen often in recent years.

That can all be considered flavour text however, and all any cynic really need to do to gain recognition for these lads is to dive into the expertly crafted songs the "Pilot EP" offers. Track 2, "Resuscitate" follows a perfect formula, nevermind it's hard rocking trappings. A gentle guitar signature opens the song before laying the ground for the first verse, the upbeat tempo is arrested for a tender prechorus and the chorus then explodes with lofty falsetto breaks, harsh backing vocals and crashing guitar chords. Then the whole thing breaks down, hits a brief cliffhanger of silence and then notice especially how a backing voice responds to each line of the second verse, making it feel like it's moving at twice the pace of the first one. Prechorus and chorus then predictably repeats and gives way for a mellow bridge which sees the instruments drop away when Chapman returns the first lines of the chorus, which naturally ends precedings at a high point.

This one song is the perfect example of how to use conventional songstructure with an absolutely brilliant, elegant understanding of its delicacies, and the same deft knack for composition is engaged in each song on the "Pilot EP". And that's half the reason it's so promising. The other half is that Mallory Knox just sound damn good, offering a production job that might not be the richest you've ever heard, but it has the power and crunch to get the job done - oh and then there's the fact Chapman absolutely slays his vocal parts, sounding equally intriguing whether he hesitantly breathes out the quieter verses, or strains his croons to powerful highs during choruses and climaxes. See for instance "Oceans", a song that possibly is even better than "Resuscitate", and which is sure to grab any listener by the balls by the time the climax comes around and Chapman roars "can you feel me DREAAAMIIIING, of yoouuuu?".

If pressed to complain about a few things on the "Pilot EP" one would be that I wish there was as much talent and practice invested in the backing vocals, both clean and harsh, as there is in Chapman's cleans, as especially the harsh yells are fairly run of the mill. That and also the band might want to be careful keeping their lyrics classy if they're going to sing as much about girls as seems the case here, with the records lone low point, "Keeping Secrets", going a bit overboard for my taste, with its promise of violence towards some perceived threat to Chapman's girlfriend.

As you may understand from my overall tone of excitement, those are small complaints however, and generally I'm pretty stunned to hear a debut EP sound this good. It gives me the thought that Mallory Knox, if they can keep writing songs like this, can shoot straight past contenders which have been working for years to grow up through the British underground, and become You Me At Six- or Lostprophets-type of big within just a few years. My only real worry is whether they can maintain their integrity if things start moving fast, which - if this is any indication - I'm sure as hell they will real soon.

Download: Oceans, Resuscitate, Promises, Q.O.D,
For The Fans Of: Funeral For A Friend, Yashin, Fightstar, We Are The Ocean, (newer, harder) You Me At Six, Blitz Kids

Release Date 04.07.2011
A Wolf At Your Door Records

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