Review Summary: Not as cohesive as its title may imply, but a great album nonetheless, making you look forward to hear what else Mallory Knox has up their sleeves.
Coming out of nowhere with their critically acclaimed debut Signals
, British quintet Mallory Knox compellingly demonstrated, that they unite enough talent to strive for a bright future as a band. Further proving this point by releasing the equally convincing sophomore Asymmetry
, the groups popularity seems to remain covered in shadows of their contemporaries within genre and country. This might finally change with the 3rd record, Wired
One thing listeners immediately notice is a shift in tone compared to their earlier releases. Looking at the punching and slick style of Asymmetry
in particular - but also Signals
to a certain extent - we get an overall upbeat feel throughout Wired
, leading to a much more radiofriendly sound, which, as already mentioned, might grant them the long deserved boost in popularity. Despite the more frequent use of some rough guitar riffs and solos as on previously debuted single "Better Off Without You" or title track "Wired", everything feels a little bit less rocking and a tad pop(-punk)ish. On some occasions this deviations result in a lack of cohesiveness, with "For You" being a prime example, feeling rather out of place due to its beachsong vibe. Overall the production tends to sound polished in most instances ("California", "Lucky Me"), throwing in some rawer elements here and there ("Wired", "Better Off Without You") or even being a mixture of both ("Giving Up", "Saviour").
An huge improvement involves the vocal delivery by lead vocalist Mikey Chapman. Whether it's due to well executed studio trickery or in fact a lack of the latter, he never sounded so raw and stripped down, yet deeply emotional and perfectly on tune. Ballad "Falling In Love", as well as singles "Saviour" and "Better Off Without You" are shining examples, resulting in some of the albums best moments. He is accompanied by the backing vocals of bassist Sam Douglas, who gets a really great deal of exposure time compared to past records, which may feel unfitting at a few points, but overall adds a nice smoothness to complement Mikeys rough sound. It's Chapmans performance and the interplay of those two, that lifts up the album to something more noteworthy than you might expect from a switch to radiofriendlier style.
Also worth noting for that matter, is closer "Mother". While the lyrics on Wired
range from various but more or less typical themes like love, god or sex, it's the aforementioned delivery, that makes them shine. On this final song, instead of Chapman singing the chorus on his own, we get to hear gang vocals. And whether or not it was intentional, it appears like the band chose this way of execution to address all of their parents and thank them together, instead of letting just the lead vocalist do it . As a result, these rather simple lyrics convey a very heartwarming feeling.
may fall short of following up qualitywise to the bands previous outings by just a tad, but thanks to heavily improved vocals and several standout tracks, remains a fun and thrilling listen!