ALBUM REVIEW: MALPAS – Rain River Sea

7/10

ALBUM REVIEW: MALPAS - Rain River Sea

I am a firm believer that all music is mood music and environment is a heavy factor. Pardon my brief moment of ignorance, but, as a native Californian, I’ve often pondered why it is that London is a hotbed for great music. Dreary, cold, soggy, it wouldn’t exactly seem a place screams inspiration. I couldn’t be more wrong. To name a few: The Sex pistols, The Kinks, Bloc Party, Stereo Lab, are some of my personal favorite imports to hail from this side of the pond. In hindsight I think the less than stellar conditions is what helps breed the world class talent such as the aforementioned.

Less time outside means more time inside….your own mind, focused, reflecting, searching, finding that very inspiration it takes to truly capture the music looming in the atmosphere. The duo Malpas continues in this fine Londonion fashion.

Producers turned artists can be risqué to say the least. It isn’t always well received. Sometimes you’re in over your head and the outcome is disastrous. When done well it can be a true sonic delight. Malpas’s Andy Savours production career spans a decade. With acts such as The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, The Killers, Blonde Redhead, and The Horrors on the resume you can clearly see the variety of musicians he has cut his teeth with over the years. Teamed up with singer/songwriter Ali Forbes, Innovative and adventurous, it is evident from the first listen of opening track Under Her Sails that these two are on to something. Formerly of Envy and the Sins, the band Forbes played with as guitarist/vocalist in 2008 who became popular after winning a nationally televised English talent show, this is his sophomore attempt and his timing is impeccable. Heartfelt and forward, his muse is clearly ripe for the picking and polished at that.

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Existing in the realm somewhere between The Postal Service and Radiohead circa OK Computer, initial impressions are that of Ben Gibbard replacing Thom Yorke in a cameo guest vocal session. The softest and soothing of undertones supplied by Forbes shine bright only losing headway to Savours superbly executed, well thought out harmonies. Met with pseudo Industrial notes especially apparent in track 2, Where the River Runs, this formula is exacted until midway through the album where we are met with a sea change, shifting gears and exposing deep rooted folk in Us Afloat. All the markings are there, pizzicato guitar picking blended with falsetto lead vocals. Again the theme continues, clear into the final track June Exit Strategy, a synth heavy ethereal offering. Somewhere between a battle hymn and the closer of an epic soundtrack, this is the perfect ending to an album that can be described no less than a journey. If I could give my two cents as to when I would give this LP a gander, I would say,,,,save it for a rainy day.

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