Review Summary: Mallory Knox have released a monster of an album.
British band Mallory Knox released their debut album Signals
in 2013, and only a year later, have put out their second, Asymmetry
, successfully avoiding the sophomore slump. They displayed serious potential on Signals
, but didn’t quite deliver all they had to offer. Each song sounded relatively similar, such that to someone not overly familiar with their songs, they would have been hard to differentiate between. But my biggest gripe with Signals
was hard to pinpoint. The recording just grated on my ears and I found it hard to enjoy.
No longer. Mallory Knox returned with a beast of an album: fourteen tracks, in the deluxe edition, clocking in at just under an hour . The opening track and lead single, “Ghost in the Mirror,” introduces the listener to the fast pace and energetic nature of Asymmetry
that they can expect throughout the record. While nowhere near the strongest track on this collection of songs, it sets the mood and gets your blood pumping for the remainder of the album.
“Getaway” follows suit with an accessible alternative rock sound, but it’s on “Dying to Survive” that Mallory Knox finally rock up with some serious power. The song begins with a crunchy bass line and continues to be fun, albeit a little moody, for the first two thirds of the track, but after the second chorus, the band refuse to enter a bridge and yet another chorus. Instead, they opt to change the momentum of the song to something a little more aggressive. Vocalist Mikey Chapman belts out “London is burning down!” to great effect, and you can’t help but sit back and appreciate his raspy voice in its most raw form, backed by a delicious, hard rock influenced riff.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and “Shout at the Moon” makes its way into your ears. Second single, and by far the weakest track on the record due to the uninspired nature of the song, this track was obviously written to bombard the radio. It would seem that this song has served its purpose though, as it has become a regular on the BBC Radio 1 A-list.
“She Took Him to the Lake” starts off with some morbid clean strumming that immediately begs your attention. Mikey’s beautiful voice softly sings over this tender strumming before part two of this seven minute epic kicks in. We hear gentle chanting of “She took him to the lake to watch him drown, tied up,” only for Mikey to interject, almost screaming, about his mistakes. It’s here that you realise this album is not just some release from a generic rock band, but in fact a leader in the British rock scene. The band kicks in again after this brief, but beautiful, pathway into the final third of the song. Here, the track almost falls back into the same style as the rest of the album, but they are luckily able to reign themselves in and deliver a cracking finale filled with plenty of back and forth vocal lines and harmonies, and a sound that is sufficiently different to really stand out in this album full of catchy tracks.
The standard edition of the album finishes strong with two amazing songs. “The Remedy,” the second last track, is one of the most fast paced and energetic songs on the album, and is surely going to be a crowd pleaser. Asymmetry
then ends on “Dare You,” which starts relatively soft and subdued, like just another one of Mallory Knox’s slower songs, before exploding into a fitting finale, with a chorus that sounds like it could fill a stadium, ending with an uplifting tone.
However, we are not done yet as the deluxe version includes three extra songs, none of which feel like b-sides. “Glimmer” gives the album a much needed acoustic number, although it would have done a better job on the standard tracklist to break up the full band onslaught, similar to how “1949” did on Signals
And there’s “QOD II”, the first taste any fan of Mallory Knox would have got from Asymmetry
, and one of my personal favourite songs this year. From the opening ten seconds, you know it’s going to be intense. The verses are subdued and backed by simplistic but fitting instrumentation mostly consisting of the bass player in the first verse, before really kicking your teeth in when the chorus hits. The song only grows and after a brief moody guitar solo you hear Mikey crooning “Was it everything you wanted?” to end the album off in some serious style.
While the band members do not do anything overly original or complex, they each do their job well. One can really hear the bass throughout the album which helps create a lot of atmosphere and variety in the instrumentation, whereas similarly styled records often lack that bass sound that is so important. This album is not ground breaking, make no mistake about that, but it is a serious improvement over Signals
, and if they continue in this trend of improvement, I’m super excited for album number three, especially if they continue creating songs this catchy. These young British chaps are going places in the world of alternative rock, and rightly so. For what it is, Asymmetry
is absolutely fantastic.