Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I thought I should post at least a few tracks from this band, just to give a sense of the rather wide stylistic variety in play. I finally had to conclude that, to get the full range, you have to pretty much hear the whole album. There’s just an awful lot going on here.

Which then got me curious, & so I went hunting for a little info on these guys. Only to turn up actually not very much. Here’s a hint for you, though, if you go looking: what you’ll find is some references to Malakai, but now it’s evidently Malachai. It is the same band, so I can save you that step. My thought on that is if you’re a band, maybe you don’t want to go around changing the spelling of your name. I mean, if you want to get noticed. If you like, actually want people to find you on the internet. So I’ll just put that out there. But hear:

So. But the album is called Ugly Side of Love, & it’s pretty fun stuff I'm here to tell you. Rhythmically, there’s a lot of Right-Now-This-Minute going on, but texturally we’re in yet another facet of the Capital-R Retro realm that seems to keep on cropping up all over lately. So, e.g., hip-hop beats over Hammond organ. Or, then again, vice-versa: Because it totally depends on the song. So, in the alternative, it's sometimes the drum-slash-bass that connotes the old school, albeit juxtaposed w/samples spinning. Mash mash mash.

I definitely hear a lot of a nineteen-sixties flavor here, even if I can’t always seem to identify why exactly. The 1st track, “Warriors” did strike me as kind of a butched-up West Side Story kind of thing for a minute there. By the time I got to “Snowflake,” I was thinking Psychedelic, like as in Disraeli Gears or something. Which I’ll just go ahead & link to for the benefit of the youngsters in the house who have no independent recollection of E-major chords wielded like blunt hammers by so-stoned bad boys in creepy paisley silk. Yeah. Just let that settle in for a moment. Then hear this:

OK, but then, just when you think you have this band figured out, there are also all of these Trip-Hop-ish sort of Portishead-y bits.

Which I love. & so, I'll say that the segues from one song to another are frequently incongruous. Almost, sometimes, like listening to a mix tape but of course you’re not. & the common thread, to the extent there is one, is just this sort of broadly-sketched, um, trippiness.

Now, I can’t claim to have listened to any Sixties Psychedelic Music in recent memory (I could have done before writing this, if only I had actually wanted to, which I so didn't), but my recollection is that SPM (as I'll now call it) could never be nearly as sexy as it so obviously wanted to be. & why? Because the drumming (I am sorry) just didn’t swing. It marched. Lockstep. The critical difference here between then & the Then being referenced here now is, not surprisingly, the respective foundational rhythms. So here is Malachai re-imagining that earlier, simpler (yes, I am being ironic, hello?) time, but the maybe Key difference is that hip-hop has now occurred in the interim. &, antecedently, so has Funk. Not that this music is explicitly either, I'm not saying that. But the points of reference are well & clearly laid out. & Malachai swaggers hugely, right down the center of the aisle.

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