Mallory Knox


Written by: TL on 27/01/2013 14:48:32

To casual rock fans, "Signals" - the recently released debut full length by red hot British hot shots Mallory Knox - is going to be just one of those rare records that just keeps delivering songs with hit-potential again and again over the course of its eleven tracks. To obsessive music nerds (like me) it is something a good deal more unusual: It is evidence that you can write a record filled strictly with streamlined, chorus-oriented bangers and still somehow dodge almost every pitfall, every danger of inconsistency and any sellout-tendencies you would expect on just such a record.

Instrumentally, Mallory Knox take a page out of the manual for young, hard rocking British bands like We Are The Ocean and Young Guns, sparing no weight in the low end of their album's production, but still keeping the tones and melodies themselves bright, melodic and simple enough for anyone to keep up. They write songs by the book and unashamedly so, which they can get away with because honestly, with the feel they have for that all-important surge a song needs moving from verse to chorus, it sounds like they've been doing this for decades rather than the mere three years they've been together.

Of course it does no harm to also have one beast of a singer in frontman Mickey Chapman, whose toasty croon and proficient delivery is quite frankly unbelievable. He has the kind of voice that seduces you already in the verse and then just when you feel like you've heard what he has to offer, he's going to dial up the sexiest falsetto flourish or a primal roar of uncanny vocal power. Check out leading single "Hello", which showcases the band at their best, all dynamic and energetic instrumentation and all Chapman putting on a clinic, sliding notes in the second verse in a way that will moist panties, and crying out with unquestionable conviction towards the song's climax.

One needs not look as far as "Hello" at track seven however, to find proof of the band's songwriting prowess. The opening triple shot "Beggars", "Lighthouse" and "Death Rattle" are dressed to impress, greeting you by the album's front door with more frightening efficiency than you'll likely be prepared to handle, and especially "Death Rattle" is deceptively catchy with the unexpected turn it takes in the chorus section. Okay, so there might be a slight drop-off for the boys in obligatory, predictable ballad "1949", but things are picked right back up by the threatening rumble of "Wake Up", and as far as balladry goes, "Bury Your Head" comes along later and leaves a convincing mark in that department as well.

The fact is that Mallory Knox are so good, so slick, so early in their career that it's almost absurd. I mean if you can be this deft so soon, it makes a lot of other struggling young bands look a bit silly, doesn't it? I know for sure it almost annoys me, making me listen partly with the intent to find chinks in the band's perfect armor. And to be honest, as a big fan of the band's "Pilot EP", I do feel like "Signals" misses some of the personal frustration and urgency that made the band's early output extra relatable. On the other hand, the backing vocals delivered are much improved from "Pilot EP" and in any case, it's hard to blame the band for sounding more encouraging and forthcoming on "Signals" however, considering the deserved momentum they've been gathering recently. And ultimately, I think any little imperfections you might find will only eventually add to the charm of an album that is pretty much the perfect proposition for fans of catchy rock everywhere. So heed my warning world: You better brace for Mallory Knox, because if music is at the heart of the matter, their name is one you might be sick to death of hearing rather soon.


Download: Hello, Death Rattle, Lighthouse
For The Fans Of: Young Guns, Funeral For A Friend (on "Tales Don't Tell Themselves"), (recent) You Me At Six, We Are The Ocean, Paramore

Release Date 21.01.2013
A Wolf At Your Door Records

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