24.02.2009, Words by dummymag

Ugly Side Of Love

Protégés of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, Bristol-based duo Malakai specialise in the kind of twisted, sample-heavy gloom as their mentor, but schizophrenically so. Over the 14 scattershot tracks comprising their debut, dark Wu Tang beats rub shoulders with manic ‘60s garage and demonic incantations, all sung in the manner of a deranged Jim Henson character.

It’s occasionally pretty painful listening – Warriors, which samples dialogue from the cult film of the same name, is a jarring opening track – but the album is, on the whole, strangely lovable for its eccentricities. Snowflake sounds like The Troggs turned feral, Another Sun borrows brutishly from late ‘60s Beatles and Fading World and Simple Song make for a gloomily apocalyptic close. There’s the whiff of a loaded bong here, resulting in too much skit and sketch and not enough finished ideas, but there’s promise too. (5)

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