Review: Malarkey Affair launch their new album Leave A Light On @ Yellow Arch Studios
March 23, 2016
Intrinsically, the first thing you notice from the opening of this album by Sheffield band Malarkey Affair, is the difference between their studio and live performances. Gone are the rough edges, to be replaced by silky smatterings of piano, strings, acoustic guitar and thought provoking vocals. In fact the songs are all very similar, but different, an oxymoron indeed.
That’s not to say they haven’t retained the character and freshness that made them a firm favourite on the local circuit, it’s just a new found bold direction, that bodes well for future recordings.
What could have been a setback in losing original drummer Pat Thornton, turned into a positive in recruiting Mike Eaton. The album largely uses Thornton’s drum takes with Eaton featuring on one track. Having recently left the band, Eaton is concentrating on university studies, while the band are continuing with session drummers for the immediate future.
The opener Fashion Kid is reminiscent of The Cure from the jangling guitar, tinkling keyboards and Robert Smithesque vocals. The production from band guitarist David Logan has tamed James Clinton’s diatribe into a smoother lyrical weapon, while retaining the quintessential Sheffieldness.
The similarities don’t end there, if you are a fan of 90s Indie bands such as The Charlatans, The Wedding Present, The Smiths and The Inspiral Carpets, you will find a lot to like here. There’s even a little Joy Division present, if you can say the album is that morose.
1982 gives a nod towards The LA’s, with a distinguishable guitar rhythm and drum beat, that came from the 60s, straight to the 90s. The title track, Leave a Light On, feels as though you are sailing with Duran Duran to Rio with the rhythmic synth intro.
Broken Dreams and Bang Bang instantly remind you of The Wedding Present with stuttering guitar and drums driving the songs. James particularly sounding like Gedge on the former.
David and the gang have obviously had a little listen to Prince during the making of this album, as the opening slurred church organ that opens Kisses Like Wine is lifted from Let’s Go Crazy.
The real jewel in the crown for me, comes in the form of Lonely Street, a poignant track beginning with sweet synthesized strings, coupled with intricate acoustic guitar and weaving bass. James Clinton shines amid this beautiful track. You can picture the imagery of dark, misty, mazes of backstreets, cigarette smoke and possible liaisons with strangers.
While not achieving perfection, there is promise aplenty. Maturity comes with age and practise, therefore, I feel the songwriting under the three members of Clinton, Logan and Higgins will drive the band to new heights.
There is always the opportunity to catch this band live in city centre venues such as Three Cranes and The Mulberry Tavern. Pre-release samples with this review, wet the appetite for the full album experience.
In fact, why don’t you catch them at Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield on the 2nd of April for the album launch party? Along with White Lines and Shock of the Fall as support, Malarkey Affair will be debuting the album live. The ticket price of £10 includes a buffet, free drink and a copy of the CD.
You can listen to Malarkey Affair’s music, including tracks from Leave a Light On on their Soundcloud page.