Arriving just less than a year after ‘This Is Nowhere’, the latest offering from Malojian, ‘Let Your Weirdness Carry You Home’ shows the creativity of Stephen Scullion is showing no signs of slowing down.
Initially beginning life as a solo project in association with Northern Ireland Screen, the recordings quickly gathered pace, took on a life of their own and delivered enough material for a full album.
From the opening guitar riff of ‘Some New Bones’, the listener is aware they are going a journey somewhere new and exciting. The song was written in reaction to the news of an illness being faced by the head of Rollercoaster Records and delivers encouragement in the most simplistic way.
Don’t let your bones wear out. You’re going to need them.
Delightful and unashamed psychedelia abounds on the album. ‘A New Armageddon’, ‘Damp’, and the alluring ‘Purity Of Your Smile’ are prime examples of where the listener is led on an aural trip by the arrangements and full utilisation of instruments used to accompany what are often fascinating lyrics.
‘Hanging On The Glow’ is perhaps the most traditional sounding Malojian song on the record and features some fine slide guitar on a song that feels like it has been heavily influenced by Neil Young.
There are pop tunes too. ‘Ambulance Song’ in particular swings with a heavy sixties hippy vibe with a hypnotic beat and dreamy cello. ‘Battery’, meanwhile, contains a frenetic melodic energy.
The album also showcases Scullion’s emerging talents as a record producer. Having recorded and produced the record himself, he has blended multiple instruments including strings, synths, and horns emulating very much the work that the late George Martin did with The Beatles. It’s possibly no coincidence that it was mastered at Abbey Road Studios either.
As a musician, his stock clearly couldn’t be higher as the album also features guest appearances by Joey Waronker on drums, Gerry Love on bass and Jon Thorne on double bass.
Adding the cello and vocals of Laura McFadden was a stroke of genius and hopefully this only the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between them.
If asked to pick a highlight on the record then it would have to be ‘Beard Song’. As with all Malojian records, there’s clever observational humour involved. Subtle and somewhat understated within the rest of the album, this one appears to gently mock the current hipster phase for growing long and often ridiculous looking facial hair.
A slightly melancholic sounding flugelhorn solo also gives the impression of weariness towards the attitude that sometimes accompanies the current fashion trend.
Just because you grow a beard it doesn’t make you cool. Anyone can do it. There’s nothing to it, you fool.
Title track ‘Let Your Weirdness Carry You Home’ ends the album on a high note with an explosion of colour delivered in up-tempo, distortion-fuelled, string-drenched embracing of individuality.
The album delivers an exciting, fresh new sound for Malojian that is both creative and familiar, yet unique and tinged with a warm nostalgia that envelopes the listener in a blanket of reassurance.
At every level, instruments are played to their full potential to deliver above and beyond their usual capacity. Put simply, this record is a masterpiece delivered by a creative genius.
Malojian will play a special album launch show complete with film visuals in Belfast’s Strand Arts Centre on the 19th of October 2017.