Review: Malatese EP

Well, today was rather interesting. As you’ll recall, I recently reviewed the Gypsy Death and You EP. WHO, by the way, made it on the newest NWShoegazing compilation! Congratulations to Alex and Emily! Excellent cover, excellent band. Again, if you haven’t checked them out, do it! They’re on muxtape.

Malatese is Jon Reed (drums), Graham Brouder (bass, vocals), Travis Legg (vocals), and George Dodson (guitar). They’re from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

So apparently Gypsy Death and You are friends with the guys from Malatese. I’m assuming they read my review of the GDaY EP because they very kindly sent me a link to their music to check out. Here are my thoughts.

My wife is with me, listening to their stuff as well. Her first reaction to “Time Mask,” the first song on the EP, was that they have a somewhat similar sound to really early U2 from about 34 seconds in. I mean, we’re talking Boy-era U2–not The Joshua Tree type material. So, you know … that’s a pretty good thing. I think it is, anyway. She also compared their sound to Weezer. I didn’t get that from their sound, but to each their own, right? I think they have a much more aggressive sound than either of those two band. Not violently aggressive … just aggressive. As in, “Hey guitar … I’m gonna pwn you. Just get used to it.” Or “You are *my* drum kit. You *will* obey me!” You know … stuff like that.

The first thing that strikes me is how well balanced the mixing is, even though it’s obvious this wasn’t recorded in a professional studio. Despite that, the drums sound as raw as if you were sitting right in front of them; the bass comes through with a very prominent distinction. I’m pretty sure I’m hearing two guitars here. Now … I don’t know if this is on purpose or not, but one of them sounds a hair out of tune. If that was on accident, whoops. If it was on purpose, congratulations–you’ve stumbled on some kind of sonic dissonance that doesn’t suck–in fact, it’s actually pretty damn cool. Edit: Uneless I’m mis-reading their email, there is but one guitar. Guess I need to break out the headphones instead of listening on iTunes.

“Heaven Would Melt” has me scratching my head. During the chorus, there’s some kind of squawking falsetto screaming that I can’t quite … get. It just doesn’t seem to fit the song. Now … to be fair, in the interest of full disclosure, with the kind of muted vocals and over-emphasized distorted guitars, it’s a bit hard to make out all the lyrics, so the squawk shrieking might very well be completely relevant. However, I have no idea.

Remember The Misfits? Ever heard of Samhain? Yah … there’s a very Glenn-Danzig-meets-Jim-Morrison kind of quality to the singer’s voice and style. For the music, it totally fits. I’m liking it.

One thing the band told me when they wrote and said, “Let us know of any comments you have, for we did everything ourselves and won’t turn down any kind of feedback.” I have one suggestion: find a way to get some funding for a professional studio because I would *love* to hear what you guys can do with some better recording equipment. I mean that with all the respect I have for what you’ve accomplished so far. Your sound is raw and raging, and I like that. I really do. But you owe it to yourselves to see what would happen in a professional studio. Hey … ya never know what you can pull off!

So I’m filing this one under “bands to watch.” I don’t know if they’ll ever score a radio hit with their sound, but ya know what? These days, that’s probably a *very* good thing. 🙂 Actually, let me amend that: I can see them becoming a college radio circuit phenomenon. That would be very, very cool cuz most college radio stations don’t play crap, so if they hit that stream, good things will happen.

Online Malatese hang-outs:

Her are some music vids they sent along as well.

Thanks for the music, gentlemen!

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