British alternative rockers Mallory Knox are back with their new album, ‘Wired’. Stuffed with pop sensibilities, the album is a hook-a-minute affair which flirts frantically from genre to genre, never really settling on a sound. The record commendably wears it heart on its sleeve, but curiously lacks emotional bite; any intrigue drawn out by the diverse songwriting has been whitewashed instead with an obsessive fixation on hitting big choruses out of the park (which, to be fair, they do with no difficulty).
‘Wired’ starts strongly at least; ‘Giving It Up’ is a tremendous opener. It swaggers in with a hair metal vibe and a thumping bass line, and gets better and better the whole time you listen to it. The band boast that they wrote this song in an hour and a half; this fact alone reflects worse on the other tracks. This is Mallory Knox at their most honest, unthinking, and raw, and we don’t get another glimpse of it.
Other tracks on offer here are a little more calculated, and belong to what I like to call the ‘Aloe Blacc’ school of songwriting: a tune that sounds vaguely like another, better one (but just enough to catch your ear). ‘California’ is a straight-laced pop-punk track with breathy vocals that could be a Fireworks song. ‘For You’ is the kind of shameless ballad even Train would think twice about putting out these days.
There are some exceptions. Later track, ‘Falling In Love’ is a cool slow-burner with the best lyrics by far, “I lit a match to let the light in / But all the demons tried to sneak in / And I was powerless to stop them / I kept on falling in love.” It’s the only obvious example of the band touching upon the themes that the album supposedly covers. Follow-up, ‘Lucky Me’, has more than a touch of ‘Happiness’-era Dance Gavin Dance to it in the verses, though it rescues itself later on with some delicious riffs that are so dirty they are almost Southern fried.
This album is not as interesting as it wants to be; the stand-out tracks stand out only due to their proximity to the forgettable efforts. From the title, ‘Wired’ should be the aural equivalent of an all-nighter, of driving desperate and over-caffeinated through the darkness, away from bad things and towards loved ones. Instead, it’s more like a sugar-rush; overly-sweet, headache-inducing, and ultimately temporary.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)