Mark Mallman

Mark Mallman

The Red Bedroom

Guilt Ridden Pop

Mark Mallman is the guy who once did a 26-hour performance of his song “Marathon,” that includes 312 pages of lyrics and, word has it, a chorus so brilliant it actually made people stay to watch the entire show and sing along with our man Mark as well. Still, I’m pleased to see that his new album clocks in at a measly 40 minutes. There are other songs to be heard as well, you know.

That said, there are no particular reasons why one would want to leave Mark Mallman’s world right away. This is a lovely album, heavy on the Hunky Dory-era Bowie rip-offs, but still with so much unique presence and strong compositions that Mallman’s star shines brightly on its own. Mallman neatly nestles himself in the corner occupied by every other theatrical folk-popster, and he does it with a playfulness that drags every symfo-rocker from Queen to Styx on board. Not as scary as that may sound. Opener “City Of Sound” is a big city Randy Newman-moment, while “Who’s Gonna Save You Now” offers a slab of catchy, instantly likeable pop. And so it goes.

It’s not a perfect album, to be sure, with Mallman clearly trying to be too many things at any one time, and sometimes he simply loses focus underway. But this is still a strong collection of songs with a few true standout moments, and it’s all delivered in such a strong, purposeful manner that it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the man’s sheer talent.

Guilt Ridden Pop:

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