Malachai – Return to the Ugly Side

We really liked Malachai’s first LP, with its Glam, psychedelic feel.  This LP’s not far off that though this has more of an adventurous sweep to it; where the first LP was charming, and delicate (almost preserved in aspic), this record has a tough, muscular side that has more of a hint of the dance-floor to it. With tracks like The Don’t Just and How You Write, Return to The Ugly Side nods (however fleetingly) to Massive Attack and Bristol legends of yore.

The opener Monsters, with its sweeping strings has touches and flourishes that remind me of the opening sequence of Blondie’s Auto American LP. (Monsters returns later in the LP as a fully-fledged track replete with lyrics and more of a stomping beat). Tracks like Anne and My Ambulance nod to the groove the Pretty Things played with round Parachutes and SF Sorrow. And the brilliant No More Rain, No Maureen could have been written around 1968, such is the feel of the Move, Tomorrow, or the Pretties…

There are quieter moments; Rainbows and Distance are a woozy, dreamy songs with a ghostly refrains, in one sense this is quite a gothic LP, gothic in the style of Shelley, black top hats with a funeral sash and pea-soupers. There are a number of short interlude-style tracks such In The Hole and Snake Eyes, there more to provide atmosphere than anything else.

It’s a great LP from a talented band, and it will grow over time.