Album Review: The Great Malarkey – Doghouse [Batov Records, 7th April 2017]

What happens when gypsy, folk, punk and blues influences converge into the spirit of an eight-person band, after a five-year break from intense writing, listening and performing on tour? The answer might be something like a ticking bomb ready to explode and well… That is the case for The Great Malarkey and their album Doghouse – a much-awaited release that is set to light that fuse. So let us just say it… BOOM!

The Dalston-based band is back in the game with an impetuous rollercoaster of original and driving compositions. The Great Malarkey are eight musicians from around the globe – England, Canada, Portugal and Latvia – and they want you to join them on the multicultural train of fast beats and trembling slams of punk-folk spirit. With Paul-Ronney Angel as special guest on vocals and harmonica, “Duck ‘n’ Dive” opens up the doors of the Gypsy Hotel Club, bringing you right in the mood of the band’s funky milieu where there ‘ain’t no fool’.

As you can hear and see from this video, this band’s forces are unconventionally genuine and transparent in music rendition and sheer performance charisma. Independently produced by Batov Records, Doghouse pieces together a unique skeleton of musical ideas, along with multiple external guest appearances. The backbone of “Tyler” is a noticeable sonnet that offers well-balanced, soft and strong dynamics with guest Kieran Banks. With “I Don’t Like You Much”, your hip bones may feel a little melancholic, inspired by a waltzer sort of tempo – an exploration that “Gaffa’ responds to with its flamenco (ish) rhythm.

The album’s second half sums up the maturity and fluidity that The Great Malarkey obtained throughout their five-year break between Badly Stuffed Animals (2012) and the present. “Shame” and “Shoelaces” represents a multifaceted experiment and builds the springboard for an energetic relaunch of  “Beware the Temptress”, the spirit of which, evokes the strength of the band’s live shows.

Beyond the simple bony crescendo, your expectations will be gently flattered by the album’s coda with two tender ballads: “Take It Kindly” and ‘Running Endlessly’. It is the end before the curtain, a recall to the innocent and benevolent soul emerging from a good and well thought out album.