Signals review by Mallory Knox

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jan 21, 2013
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (12 votes)
Mallory Knox: Signals

Sound — 8
This is a band who should not be really be very impressive. There is nothing unique or special about how they operate or the style of music that they place. They are a British 5 piece alt rock band in a similar vein to Young Guns and modern era Lostprophets. This might sound like I am being insulting about it and I would see why you think that but that is not the case. In terms of sound they are probably the best pure rock band that the UK has produced in many years (at least in my view). I am definitely impressed how they are able to blend hard rock instrumental sections with some very nice clean melodic sections without coming across as overly cliched from my perspective.

Lyrics — 8
The vocalist has a fantastic skill set. He is able to bring emotion in the various tracks without coming across as if he is forcing it. On top of that he is also very able to go for a non melodic half talking, half shouting voice but is also able to keep it away from any sort of scream which, while would have been interesting from a dynamic perspective, I don't think would have worked in terms of the songs as a whole. If I had to say something negative about the vocals it would have to be they mostly sit within about an octave and half in terms of range and sometimes it can make the melodies sound a bit samey, samey. The lyrics can be seen by some as quite childish and/or simple. This is because Mallory Knox tend not to rely on subtle messages or metaphors in their lyric content. When they want to say something they will flat out sing it you as they feel it. An example of this comes in the time spanning love song "1949": "So sing yourself to sleep tonight and let your demons go, cause every word you spoke to me has saved me for so long" I've heard a few people describe this lyrical style as immature because it is not designed to make the listeners think a lot about them. I would have to disagree with this because an awful lot of young bands make the mistake of trying to make far too vague and too full of metaphors which actually make the words lose all meaning. What Mallory Knox have done which I am a massive fan of is still make the words mean some something to people without making them overly complex or wordy.

Overall Impression — 8
Now lets have a look at each track 1 at a time: 1. "Beggars": This song starts very quickly as it means to continue: High energy, use of a mixture of melodic and relatively heavy guitar parts as well as strong vocals with good backing. It's a good introduction to what the band are going to produce over the course of this album. Strong opener. 2. "Lighthouse": Probably the most famous song on the album because it's the most successful single of 3 to be released from it. It has a strong guitar and drum intro and features a very strong chorus vocal as well as a catchy bridge. Probably the song I was most drawn to before writing this review. 3. "Death Rattle": This is the first song that I heard from this band and I was instantly very impressed by it. The use of the dual vocals in the pre-chorus and excellent guitar riff in the outro are the highlights in a very catchy and strong single. 4. "Creeper": This is a song that if anything takes away from the catchy nature of the 3 preceding songs and comes in with a little more gravitas thanks to a massive outro and an overall much bigger instrumental sound. It's a big song this and definitely is able to keep my attention from beginning to end. 5. "Wolves": This is one of the faster tracks on the album with yet another strong intro (something the band are quite good at). It's also got some of the most direct lyrics on the album, as if it the singer is saying them directly to someone's face. Again solid but sadly not one of the most spectacular tracks on the CD as a whole. 6. "1949": This is a very emotional song which does come across as believable despite the ridiculous premise that the singer was born in the late 40's. The singer does a fantastic job of portraying the emotions on this song. On top of this the acoustic guitars brought in to calm the flow of the album down are extremely effective and it all comes together very, very well as it does when the guitar solo kicks in with the distorted guitar we've been used to. 7. "Wake Up": One of the other singles. It build on a big outro and probably the biggest chorus on the album so far. A song about using music to make someone fall for the, it is a subject that is potentially close to the heart of a lot of people and it is that resonance with it's audience as well as the middle 8's strong progression that makes this song memorable. 8. "Hello": Another song that was released before the album as a whole. This was a song that it took me a while to get to grips with. It had all the elements that make this band excellent but something about it just did not excite me the same way songs like "Lighthouse" did. And to be honest that is still the case. Certainly not bad, just not as memorable as most of this album is. 9. "Misdemeanor": A flat out break up song. Straight to the point, no detours just a simple story with a strong instrumentals backing it up. There is really not much to the track but someone how it stands on it's own merit. It just works. 10. "Bury Your Head": The use of piano in the song is actually a totally different in term of the instrumental impression of the rest of the album. This song features one of albums best vocal performances not because it's trying to be anything massive but it's suits the piano parts perfectly well. A nice surprise and a very well executed song. 11. "Signals": This song (the title track and the closing song) starts like a bit of a brute. Big riffs and harsher vocals and a large chorus imprint this song very well. This song also uses the vocals of the other band members very well. It's a brilliant song with which to say good bye to the album as a whole because it reminds us of what this band have sounded like without reminding us of the musical ideas and it sends the album out on a massive high. Listening to the album as a whole writing this I have come to the conclusion that this is the best track on the entire album. Overall I would say this is an excellent British Alt Rock album and one of the best debut albums in the British alt rock scene since Young Guns 2010 release "All Our Kings Are Dead". I love the fact they haven't tried to be too clever with the lyrics or try to be too different with songs just for the sake but it but at the same time I still love the fact the have done this and are very much able to stand out in a crowded genre that can sound very samey at times. For a first full length this album shows stunning maturity, excellent talent and the possibility for the band to become a big long standing bastion of British Rock music.

YouTube preview picture
YouTube preview picture

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I heard Wake Up and loved it so decided to listen to the album. I loved the album as well! Looking forward to more from Mallory Knox
    Saw them live in 2011-about 200 people stayed to see them after the secret support and co-headliners had performed but I met Mikey and Davey and it was a great gig. Saw them at the same venue-sold out to the max. capacity of 850-at the album release show and met all the members. Great guys but the gig is the best I've ever been to. See them live just for Beggars, Lighthouse and Oceans (from Pilot EP). They blew my mind.
    cheers for the review man. I absolutely love this album, and mallory knox is probably one of my favourite bands right now. can't wait to see them live some day! pretty stoked about the new album too