Album Review: Mal Blum – Pity Boy

Mal Blum - Pity Boy Artwork

Mal Blum is an American songwriter and musician from New York who is signed to Don Giovanni Records and today I will be reviewing their album ‘Pity Boy’ which was released on July 12th 2019.

‘Things Still Left To Say’ opens with their voice that just washes over you, easy going and just a little smoky, the kind of voice you wouldn’t tire of listening to. I love the high energy of this track, it’s a lot of commotion, and for the first song I’ve heard by the artist I’m already in love with their music. Also this track has a late 90s/early 2000s vibe to it, like the soundtrack to all those teen movies I watched growing up. 

‘Not My Job’ keeps up a nice energy, the percussion in this track balances with their voice well, the guitars building on top of it and you just get swept away in the flurry of music. It does have slower points that act as a nice counterpoint and make for something that’s more pleasing to listen to. Two songs in and I’m sure I’m going to go back and listen to everything by the artist. 

‘See Me’ slows things down a little and we get to hear a slightly different quality to their voice, just a little softer and subdued and it works well. They don’t keep it that way for too long and part way through the track thing pick up, giving the track a nice rise and fall, all backed up perfectly by the drums and strings. 

‘Odds’ starts at a nice midpoint, slower than some of the others have started but not too slow, and then builds. I really like that, it’s never too quiet but it’s always like there is this energy building behind the scenes threatening to explode forth. This track has a nice quirky vibe to it and I’m just in love with the guitars in this one especially in the latter half of the track. 

‘Splinter’ has a bassy intro, it changes things up again, and has a return to the softer, more acoustic vocals I talked about in ‘See Me’ and this one has some subtle vocal harmonies that add extra layers to the singing. Something about this track really stuck with me, so far Mal Blum has been 5 for 5 as I haven’t disliked a single track but something really struck a chord in me with this one and it’s easily one of my favourites on the album, it’s just raw and I found myself thinking about it for a while after I’d finished listening. 

‘Black Coffee’ keeps to the slower trend, and I really liked the lyrics and composition of this one, usually I don’t comment on what the artist is actually saying, partly because it’s just not how I’ve ever done it and partly because I’m deathly afraid of misinterpreting the lyrics but these are just so sincere and engaging that I thought I’d at least mention how much they really struck me. Also it seems like ‘Pity Boy’ just keeps getting better, the last was one of my personal highlights of the album and this also claims another top spot.

‘Did You Get What You Wanted’ kicks things back up a gear, opening with heavier guitars and percussion, thickly layered, almost jarring after the last track but excellently put together. Again I really enjoyed the actual lyrical composition, it’s all clear and flows well, and it has a care and precision to it that I don’t always see. 

‘I Don’t Want To’ much like the previous track brought back some of the heavier intensity, this one also brings back the high energy, it’s nice, you really do get caught up in these tracks, there isn’t a single misplaced beat, nothing feels like filler it’s just another great track on what has been an amazing album. Picking out the highlight of this one though, the guitars really stood out, but honestly it’s becoming increasingly hard to say anything except…wow! 

‘Salt Flats’ takes things back again, a slower drawn out section, a bassline that threads through the song and adds to Mal Blum’s vocals and maybe I’m just emotional in quarantine but this one nearly had me in tears. It’s not that it is terribly sad, although the melancholy and longing kinda comes across strongly but it’s just a compounding of all the individual elements that really hit me. I’ve mentioned favourites thus far, and that’s in an album of great entries, but this one is by far my favourite. The guitar breakdown in the last minute was particularly epic but the whole thing was a journey in 4 minutes and 45 seconds. 

‘Well, Fuck’ is fun, and you gotta love a track called ‘Well, Fuck’, it has a great vibe to it and after my emotional moment with the last track it was a welcome change of energy, shaking things up as we approach the end of the album. 

‘Gotta Go’ keeps up the high energy, you just get swept along with this one, and again I am struck by Mal Blum’s voice, there’s just something about it that is just so nice to listen to.

‘Maybe I’ll Wait’ is the final track and it starts off with a slow, light guitar that supports their voice, I like the striking notes that work with their vocals throughout. I also like that this doesn’t necessarily sound like any of the other tracks but it does work well within the context of the album as a whole. It’s a good track and rounds things off, and I cannot wait to hear more from Mal Blum. 

So that’s what I thought of Mal Blum’s album ‘Pity Boy’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. Make sure and support the artist by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/


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