2012 proved particularly successful for home-grown British bands, with the likes of Don Broco, Canterbury, Straight Lines and We Are The Ocean releasing albums that were well received by critics and the wider public. As 2013 reaches the end of its first calendar month, Mallory Knox attempt to keep the contemporary British rock torch alight with their debut full-length ‘Signals’. Having already received heavy radio rotation and prime spots on various alternative and mainstream music channels with ‘Lighthouse’, this album may prove the springboard the band are looking for to propel them further.
Somewhat split into two, ‘Signals’ drifts from the exciting to the relatively pedestrian – recent single ‘Lighthouse’ in particular packs a punch yet appears reluctant to break out of a traditional rock mould. There are the occasional moments when the album reverts back to a sound now commonplace in the musical climate: ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Wolves’ for example allow the five-piece to deliver heavier riffs, yet fail to match the ingenuity of ‘Creeper’ or ‘Hello’.
Conversely, a proportion of ‘Signals’ finds itself categorised by addictive melodies; be it the heavy minor key tones on ‘Death Rattle’ or the comparatively down-tempo and retrospective ‘1949’. Moments such as these reinvigorate the sound and actively begin to set Mallory Knox apart from their ilk.
Whether ‘Signals’ is a commendable record largely depends on attitudes towards originality, as moments where the record pushes the listener are few and far between. The majority of the album feels decidedly safe and inoffensive, unmistakably following the same path as a significant proportion of their contemporaries. Will all that said, Mikey Chapman leads the tracks with polished vocals, complimenting the occasionally explosive compositions. Each track is well delivered and catchy – it proves almost impossible to avoid at least humming along to the album – which is undoubtedly enough to succeed in providing Mallory Knox with their highly anticipated big break. Still, a little more imagination and innovation would not have gone amiss.