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Listening

The Malarkies, 10,000 Back Doors

‘The packaging of each CD is unique. Hand-printed with linoleum block lettering, each step of the printing process took several days. The last step of the assembly was affixing a 4 1/2" square of red felt inside each cover.’

Source: press release for The Malarkies’ new album, 10,000 Back Doors.)

Response, 1: What the fuck?

Response, 2: It’s beautiful packaging, really.

Overview: I begin here with no idea who The Malarkies are.

Background: They are a duo; two members from the band k. They used to be a three-piece, but their bassist left. Hence, they are now a duo.

Malarkey: (def.) Exaggerated or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive; ‘snookered by a lot of malarkey.’

Malarkies: (assumption) A set or number of such deceptive talk(s).

Name Thoughts: That’s a strange name.

Sounds Like: Red House Painters with more depth, range, improvisation/experimentation

Doesn’t Sound Like: Sepultura, Orbital

Lyrical/Musical Themes: Memorable (hopeful, distinct) drum lines, vocals; inventive/effective avant-guitar strumming (esp. on ‘Night Dogs’); frequent mention of ‘dogs’ (probably ref. to canines, not aching feet: i.e., ‘My dogs are barking.’)

Closest Genre: alt-Country, unfortunately

Closest Genre, revised: 10,000 Back Doors is like an alt-Country album, but alt-Country is something I pretty much hate, so this definitely can’t be alt-Country. I’ll kinda-settle on ‘Folk.’ I don’t know what ‘alt-Country’ connotes. ‘Folk’ somehow connotes more class, more substance. ‘Country,’ on the other hand, connotes more substance abuse.

Closest Genre, redefined: They’re really doing their own thing here. And it’s a very good thing they’re doing. Will hold back from calling this genre ‘Malarkey.’

Review: Rootsy in a totally un-rootsy way, this album breathes some new sort of meaning. It’s an authentic, straightforward album in spirit, but it arrives there in a very un-straightforward way. The songs are tricky and utterly enjoyable, the songwriting superb. An altogether welcome surprise from an upcoming but already accomplished band.

biopic

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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