The first thing I need to say about this album is that the design of it is absolutely superb. The front cover is a kind of shiny foil and the fold-out includes four lyrics (pictured below).
It’s so unusual to see an album designed so well, and so uniquely, that it put my expectations for the quality of the music through the roof. Based off of the first three releases from this album (‘QOD II’, ‘Ghost In The Mirror’ and ‘Shout At The Moon’) as well as the song they debuted at Reading Festival (‘The Remedy’) I already knew I enjoyed some of Mallory Knox’s new songs, but the album as a whole?
I don’t even have the words to describe how utterly impressed I am.
Opening track ‘Ghost In The Mirror’ has already gathered a lot of fans in the few months since it’s been released and, although I wasn’t too impressed when I heard it for the first time at Slam Dunk Festival way back in May, it has most definitely grown on me. It sounds a lot like ‘Lighthouse’ from debut album ‘Signals’ which left me feeling a bit anxious in case the album wasn’t a progression but was instead a repetition, but this anxiety was completely unfounded.
The standout tracks that show how much Mallory Knox have developed and improved are definitely ‘Getaway’ and ‘She Took Him To The Lake’. ‘Getaway’ is absolutely beautiful, with the repetition of “tell me you’re okay, cause you’re dying just to tell me you’re not” sure to evoke emotions amongst many fans, while ‘She Took Him To The Lake’ is the first song I’ve ever heard that is over seven minutes that has held my attention until the end. Normally I am a strong advocate for songs less than five minutes as I do have an extremely low attention span, but I cannot even describe how perfectly written and performed this song really is. One of the things that sets Mallory Knox apart from the crowd is that the backing vocals are always equally as good as main vocalist Mikey Chapman, or in some instances even better. This is one of the latter occurrences. “Tied up, she took him to the lake to watch him drown”, is the best imagery that they paint throughout the album, but with Mikey singing “If it’s you that makes the first mistake, then it’s me that makes the last” being one of the most emotional and impassioned lines I’ve ever heard in a Mallory Knox song. Seeing the play time at 7:20 automatically filled me with dread, but in just one play this has become my favourite Mallory Knox song and I can imagine it being atmospheric and received perfectly well in a live environment despite the length.
Despite the fact that those two songs are my standouts, the others are all equally strong and successful. ‘Dying To Survive’ starts off feeling rather grungey, which is unusual for Mallory Knox, but I was disenchanted by the end of it because of the inclusion of siren sound effects in the backing track, which is just being done by everyone recently. ‘Shout At The Moon’ didn’t impress me too much the first time I heard it because it sounded so much like the songs Mallory Knox had put out in the past, but it’s grown on me and I can definitely appreciate the subtle nuances that make it one of the best songs in a pretty flawless album. ‘Fire’ includes Mikey Chapman showing off his vocal skills in a way he hasn’t really done before and it’s good to see the band growing in confidence, because they really have a talent that puts them ahead of the game for upcoming bands.
However, despite the fact that they’re ahead of the game, you can definitely see the influence of their peers upon them. ‘Heart and Desire’ includes a “lover, lover” repetition that echoes Don Broco’s ‘Here’s The Thing’, but there are also aspects of the album that could fit perfectly on a Deaf Havana or a Lower Than Atlantis release, showing the friendships weaved in the upcoming British rock scene are not likely to be ripped apart because of higher album sales or a more popular single.
The final song on the normal album is ‘Dare You’, which is pretty obvious because the minute long introduction is epic and impressive in a way that never seemed to be achieved on ‘Signals’. It’s the perfect conclusion to an amazing album but in my opinion, if you haven’t already purchased ‘Asymmetry’, it’s worth purchasing the deluxe edition just for the final three songs. ‘Piece Of My Heart’ sounds like something that could have come straight off of ‘Signals’ and ‘QOD II’ has already gotten a lot of love as it was the first song that Mallory Knox released before the second album announcement news, but it’s the third song, ‘Glimmer’ that really stands out. The song is filled with country influence meaning it’s something completely different for Mallory Knox, but it’s also so unique and original I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like this song before.
I went into this album so worried that it was just going to be ‘Signals 2’ but this is one of the most exciting releases of 2014 so far, and with only a few weeks to go I think it’s going to be in a lot of the best album of the year lists. While the number one album spot this weekend is likely to be handed to Taylor Swift, Mallory Knox deserve it a hell of a lot more, so I hope they get a good debut spot for a brilliant album. If you can get along to see their November tour you definitely should; not for Frank Iero’s UK debut tour, but because Mallory Knox are an exciting band and they’re only gonna get bigger from here. If they don’t headline a show at Brixton Academy next year I will be extremely surprised.
Ghost In The Mirror
Dying To Survive
Shout At The Moon
When Are We Waking Up?
She Took Him To The Lake
Heart and Desire
Piece Of My Heart