Wednesday, July 31, 2013

REVIEW: The Mallard - Finding Meaning in Deference

Yes on Blood, the 2012 debut LP from San Francisco's The Mallard was one of my top five albums of the year.  It was a bit of garage, a bit of surf, a bit of punk, and a lot of interesting rhythms.  Conceived and recorded by Greer McGettrick, The Mallard expanded to a live three piece to perform the tunes.  During 2012, while promoting Yes on Blood, Greer began writing the sophomore LP.  That album has become Finding Meaning in Deference, which was released this week by Castle Face Records.  Quite simply, this album is a beast.  A grand, snorting, charging beast.  While elements of the the garage rock ethos permeate the album, and some psychedelia creeps in, Finding Meaning in Deference is tough, unapologetic, angular post punk, with plenty of clang and well used dissonance.  It is taut, a bit nervous, and bursting with energy and spiky shards of glass.  And it is done so well that it prompted me to re-examine some albums previously released this year that trumpeted their post punk bona fides; after listening to Finding Meaning in Deference, most of them are left in The Mallard's furious wake.

I was only able to find one track to embed in this post, the album closer "Iceberg".   Fortunately, although the album boasts diverse song structures, "Iceberg" is fairly representative.  If you search the internet you may find a download of "Crystals & Candles" (a spiky post-punk coat of paint on solid garage rock bones -- add a psychedelic swirl garnish, and you have a delicious track).  If you want to sample other tracks, you can try Amazon or iTunes.  I recommend "React", "Just An Ending", "Gestur" and "Out the Door" for starters.

There is more than a twinge of regret in posting this review, as Greer disbanded The Mallard after SXSW 2013 and before this album was released.  So this would appear to be the last time I will write about one of my favorite bands of the last two years.

Did Greer, whose stage persona (while always professional) seemed to vary between reluctant and fierce,  burn out on performing?  Did she burn out in satisfying her obviously perfectionist recording muse?  Her statement said that she was sick of her songs and sick of performing them, and needed time away from the music scene.  I have met her, and she is an impressive young lady.  I hope she finds what she is looking for.

For this album, The Mallard was Greer McGettrick, Dylan Tidyman-Jones, Miles Luttrell and Danny Kendrick.

Soundcloud (old songs)
Castle Face Records

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