After the sudden departure of lead singer/front man Mikey Chapman in early 2018, the remaining members Mallory Knox have been hard at work picking up the pieces and emerging as a fully fledged four-piece with their co-lead vocalist and bassist Sam Douglas now taking on full duties as lead vocalist. With the partial line up change and a yearning to shatter all pre-conceived notions of who Mallory Knox were, they are here to instil the newly invigorated tight band dynamic with hints and tricks of the old school MK charm which is still very much in abundance.
The opening tracks for the bands new chapter lay the groundwork for an enjoyable listening experience, yet they can leave you wondering when its crescendo is going to hit, which seems to disappointingly never really materialise. Instead of enlisting some powerful and arresting choices to take each song up and away from a token good but skippable track, the band opts for more production based ups and downs that feel overproduced and lacking in gumption.
This disheartening introduction to the album doesn’t last long as the mood picks up at its mid-way point with the albums lead single ‘Black Hole’ and follow up track ‘4’ which seems to truly inhabit some “Heavy is the head that wears the crown...” mentality, as the narrator seems to struggle with being cast in someone else’s shadow while emboldened by a striking hard hitting post-hardcore inspired instrumental.
A featured issue that seems to echo across certain tracks for any Nancy Drew wannabe’s to dissect comes in the form of certain patterns within the albums lyrics that eerily harkens you back to Chapman’s departure. With such lyrics as “you’re not my brother” and “you never mattered anyway” it’s hard to deny the thought that their issues surrounding Chapman’s absence goes way deeper within the band dynamic then they may be willing to expose properly.
Another issue with the record comes in the form of ‘Radio’ and ‘Heartbreak Lover’, although they have some obvious promise in their upbeat personalities as singular tracks, their relevance to the rest of the track list is extremely hard to decipher and almost feels like the band has taken all of its progression of the story arch and tossed it out the window with the kitchen sink.
Although it is suggestive and harbouring plenty of aggressive tendencies, this self titled record seems to be laced with a flickering sense of regression poised to render this new beginning in the bands history to a rather bombastic barrel of unresolved tension.
Many people may translate this as being an extremely raw re-invention, but the fear may still remain that not all the pain has been addressed and/or laid to rest, which unfortunately may affect the way fans may view this ever endearing musical powerhouse, especially with this disenchanting and bitter first impression to the new era for Mallory Knox.