Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Mark Mulcahy - Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You

That the fine release from Mark MulcahyDear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You, hasn't received more buzz is one of the shames of 2013 in music.  In my opinion, the man is a brilliant songwriter.  He writes with passion, insight, wry observation and offbeat wit.  And he is more that confident enough to make a song more memorable by throwing a few surprises into the structure of the song.  Lyrically, he takes on the role of the street poet, commenting on life with succinct but colorful verbal snapshots.  At one point he refers to a woman as being able to "get milk from a crowbar".  In the album opener he advises "Set your own speed, man/Drive like you’ll vanish/Sometimes you can’t get around/And that’s when you smash, smash, smash”.   But you don't have to rely on my opinion, Mark's songwriting chops have been praised by Michael Stipe, Thom Yorke, Matt Berninger, Black Francis and Nick Hornby.

Beyond songwriting, however, Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You demonstrates how good Mulcahy is as a vocalist.  The range is good, but the magic isn't in the range.  It is in the phrasing, tone and emotional charge.  At times his voice reminds me of a more resonant version of '60s soul rocker Terry Reid.  And I mean that as a high compliment.

The album, which was released by Fire Records in June, covers multiple themes, and well-showcases the variety of styles Mark commands.  From the bluesy roadhouse rock of album opener "I Taketh Away" to the sublime pop song that many of us think is at the top to the collection, "Bailing Out On Everything Again", to the folky waltz "Badly Madly" to the country influenced "My Rose Colored Friend" to the upbeat indie rock of "Poison Candy Heart" (which likely will remind you of Spoon, in a good way).  It is meaty, entertaining and, quite simply, great music.  There is no doubt in my mind that it will be on my year-end list of best albums.

Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You is out now on Fire Records (UK and Euro) and The Mezzotint Label (US).

Fire Records
The Mezzotint Label

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