Mallory Knox return, ready for reinvention as a quartet, with highly-anticipated self-titled album.
My journey started back in December of 2013 when I first saw Mallory Knox live in a very well air-conditioned venue in the middle of a shopping centre in Islington. After a spin of their very first album, and seeing the tour advertised in Kerrang, I managed to cop some tickets to the sold-out show a couple of days prior on Tumblr.
How very 2013.
Signals will always have a special place in my 16-year-old heart, but I must admit that the band lost me somewhere between their 2014 album Asymmetry and their most recent release Wired – so maybe their recent shakeup was just what I needed to give them a second chance…
For Mallory Knox, the departure of long-time vocalist Mikey Chapman means that all the cards are laid out on the table and the question on everyone’s lips is: what have they done with this newfound freedom?
Psycho Killer has the unenviable task of opening the record and immediately it is made crystal clear that the band has every intention of leaving their well-known lyrical vocal style in the dust to explore the more raw and gritty sound. Delivered by Sam Douglas on vocals, this track alone gives you the idea that this album could be a little different.
White Lies is the first single and you can see why. The chorus is poppier in comparison to the rest of the record, and from the very first listen it is obvious that it could easily appeal to a wider audience and reel some curious cats in. But fear not, as soon as the verse comes back around MK prove they are no alternative to One Direction. White Lies has an energy about it that demands you must listen to it. What’s more, the middle 8 of the song shows this to be a track that is sure to find home in the ‘bouncy’ part of any future setlists – You know the type of tune; it typically features near the beginning of the show where merely head nodding is not enough, and your feet are itching for a little jump.
For me, this album peaks with Wherever and Freaks. The rhythmic riffs that Mallory Knox have been deploying expertly for years resurface and amplify the dark mood of the lyrics, showing that the band are not trying to create a completely new identity for themselves but instead have just been fine-tuning their maturing sound. Both of these songs are packed full of meaning and have a strong, coherent narrative – allowing the band to showcase their talents as musicians.
What struck me about this album was the absence of slower and more melodic numbers that are normally found towards the end of a Mallory Knox record – there is no let-up from the band who have clearly found passion in their fresh sound. While it is endearing, for the most part, this does produce points where Sam Douglas’ vocals become hidden behind a veil of vocal effects one too many times and some of the songs, despite their obvious musical differences, do begin to merge together.
However, I must stress, that this does not that mean this is a mediocre album. There are tracks, such as Fine Lines, that do fall victim of circumstance (unfortunately finding itself between a pair of bangers in the track listing) but on the whole, this album is littered with highlights. With this in mind, Black Holes deserves a notable mention. As the first release with Douglas on vocals, all the way back in February 2019, every note of this song deserves to be cherished by anyone who listens to it.
As a consumer of music, we can often forget that the art a band produces means a heck of a lot to them and this pride and passion is evident in every bar of Mallory Knox.
16/08 Junction, Cambridge UK – Album release show
15/09 Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
16/09 Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
17/09 The Fleece, Bristol
19/09 The Horn, St Albans
20/09 Met Lounge, Peterborough
21/09 BlackMarket VIP, Hastings
23/09 Phase 1, Liverpool
24/09 Gorilla, Manchester
25/09 Foundary, Sheffield
27/09 Underworld Camden, London
29/09 The Boileroom, Guildford
30/09 Mama Roux’s, Birmingham
01/10 Waterfront Studio, Norwich
02/10 Polar Bear, Hull
04/10 MK11, Milton Keynes
05/10 Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow
06/10 Key Club, Leeds
07/10 Think Tank?, Newcastle
09/10 Cavern, Exeter
10/10 Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham
11/10 The Shed, Leicester
12/10 Booking Hall, Dover
13/10 Esquires, Bedford
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