On 2014 album ‘Asymmetry’ Mallory Knox specialised in carving sparkling melodies out of robust aesthetics. The Cambridge quintet eschewed the regular forms and structures of conventional rock, in order to create an album that rivalled their heavyweight peers. It was arguably the album that launched them from back-runners to contenders in their genre.
Ironically, ‘Wired’ is supposedly the band breaking free of the constraints of their opening two albums. While they’ve certainly gone to lengths to progress their sound, much of the album comes across as an experiment they need to get out of their system. From the nostalgia-doused chorus of ‘California’ that clearly nods to Deaf Havana, to the Pete Wentz-style lyricism in the sickly sweet ‘For You’, the results of the experiment are old news to predecessors of the genre.
The album walks a tightrope between succumbing to their demons and heading towards happiness, but it’s no surprise that the strongest streak of songs are those that lean toward the darker side — a sound that Mallory Knox have been honing for years. The strength in the record comes as a three pronged attack: ‘Giving It Up’, ‘Wired’, and ‘Lucky Me’. Each fire on all cylinders, presenting a barrage of screeching guitars, blistering energy and Mikey Chapman's hair-raising, grit-laced roars — delivering vocal performances that peers Mike Duce and Josh Franceschi have nothing on.
Although the handful of songs don’t stray too far from sounds heard on their previous albums, they do confirm the progression Mallory Knox have made with their songwriting. The bulk of the band’s repertoire is centred around Mikey and Sam Douglas wrestling with their demons, but on ‘Wired’ they’ve reached a new level of exposure. Despite the two opposing moods of the album, the candid and dark lyricism is the only consistent effort in the album. It’s a massive shame, considering how much headway the band made with ‘Asymmetry’, but Mallory Knox have found themselves half a step behind their peers once again.
Words: Lisa Henderson
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