Michael Malarkey: Mongrels

review malarky x1 cong

Malarkey is an American actor and musician though he sounds English: his father is Irish American, his mother British and he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

He is best known for playing the role of Enzo in the series The Vampire Diaries (apparently). Some actors make terrible musicians, but Malarkey put us in mind of Johnny Flynn, whose debut album A Larum is great; Flynn wrote the score for the best British comedy series ever, Detectorists.

The sound is gloomy and slow, and Malarkey has a deep, lugubrious voice that would be suited to goth. He says he took up music the provide accompaniment to his poetry and that he attunes to the darker side of his nature for inspiration.

“A lot of what this record is about is that struggle of wrestling with those opposing forces within us; the duality of animal and human,” he says. The sleeve, with its dark photo and unsettling Blair Witchy scratchy writing and odd title is a good predictor of the music.

Opener My History Will Be The Death Of Me is almost cheery and verges on a pop tune. Standout is Uncomfortably Numb, more reminiscent of Nick Cave than Pink Floyd, but with a massive bass line winding through it.

There’s not a lot of variation but it creates a mood. It’s a strong album with a lot of meat on its bones; you could get to love it.

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