Malory: The Third Face (Supermodern, 2005)
Hailing from Germany, Malory brings to the table lush sounds and gentle, engaging vocals. The band consists of Jorg Kohler (vox, bass, and programming), Daniel Hammer (guitar, programming, and vox), Daniela Neuhauster (vocals and guitar), and Jorg Jakel (drums). The Third Face is Malory’s new offering and it is their first since 2002. From what I hear on this disc, the wait for the new album was more than worth the wait. Malory is shoegaze at its best, with shimmering guitars and breathy vox.
The Third Face begins with “Sleeper.” This is a mid-tempo song with a backbeat, soaring guitars, and Jorg’s fantastically gentle vocals. The bass work is subtle and perfect while the keys lay down an calm ocean of sound for the rest of the music to lie upon. Neuhauster and Kohler’s vox play off one another as they support each other’s voices. “Silence Flows Through Noise” begins with spacey keys that are soft and floating. Then, an almost danceable backbeat comes into play. This is filled out with great bass work and Neuhauster’s and Kohler’s vocals. The variations in the sounds are subtle, but fantastic, showing that they are adept at both songwriting and mixing. Their sound is captivating and hypnotic. “She Has Gone” begins with bass, keys, and Kohler’s vox. This song reminds me a lot of Slowdive in its feel and sound. Eventually, this changes and Malory’s sound starts to creep out from under their influences. I really like when Neuhauster backs up Kohler because her voice is so subtle and a perfect companion to Kohler’s soft, male vocals.
“Take Me Down” begins with a trance type beat and floating, echoing vocals from Neuhauster. Elements get added to the mix as the track progresses until there are soaring keys and a dance/electronic type feel to the song. This song has all the makings of a mixture of shoegaze elements and 80’s techno pop/new wave. It is well executed and infectious. “Endora” has an almost light, hip-hop drum feel with glimmering guitars and great bass work. This is a slow temp song with vocals taking a more prominent role in the mix. The bridge of this song is probably my favorite part because the guitars really create a beautifully crystal wall of sound. “Track 11” has a great danceable beat in it and it leans more toward the techno side, with 80’s new wave influences. This may be one of my favorite tracks on the disc, with its danceable grooves and angelic vocals. “Ajar Door” has the same feel to it and is the shortest track on the disc. This reminds me of a mix between The Human League: Octopus and Slowdive with a sprinkle of great dance pop.
“Ray of Hope” begins with somber guitars and it flows into great percussion and bass work. The beat is slow and patient while Neuhauster sings softly over the keys and glittery guitar. “Want You” begins with shimmery guitar and a tribal drum beat that is complex and exciting. Neuhauster’s vocals are breathy and gorgeous over the beats and the layers of guitars. The drums and bass eventually fad to leave the walls of sound made by guitars. “City Lights” is a bit of a shock to the listener with its fuzzy drums and odd beat. Between the beats, the drums, guitars, and guitars begin to hum. This song has a very hypnotic and lovely feel. The pace is perfect and the arrangement of the song exquisite. Last on the album is “Wake Up.” It begins with Neuhauster’s vox in angelic hugeness, with a back beat coming in and soaring walls of guitar. The vox are certainly very Goswellesque, but the German accent really gives her vocals a different flavor and sets Neuhauster apart from the Shoegaze goddess. This track is a very strong closing to a very strong album. If you love shoegaze or techno pop in anyway, this album is for you.