Malachi Constant: Pride

Malachi Constant
Modern Radio/Guilt Ridden Pop

Last year Malachi Constant found themselves teetering on the edge of extinction. With drummer Alex McCown accepted to grad school in New York, word spread all the way from the Turf Club to the 7th St. Entry that the band might break up. In that respect, Pride is a comeback album for a bunch of guys who never really went away. Well, except for McCown. He's in New York.

Marking their "return" is this appropriately triumphant and sometimes strange batch of indie rock. The band has never been one for straightforward songwriting, and the new album is no exception. The opening track lays a Middle Eastern-sounding guitar solo over a bed of fuzzy drone and even scratchier artificial drums. (McCown laid down some of the album's tracks before moving.) "The Traditions" ups the intensity but the doubled vocal tracks that waver in and out of tune grate on the ears. The lyrics are fairly incidental anyway; it often sounds like Carl Wedoff is just singing the first thing that came to his head. That would explain "Immortality": "Me and Alex/Ben and Sean/We are Malachi Constant."

Fortunately, a lot more work goes into the music. "Princess Billionaire," which rides a disco beat and funky bass line, takes its time getting started: some twinkling guitar here, an E-bowed wail there. Malachi Constant aren't interested in sticking to one sound or tempo or melody for any extended period of time, so it's a good thing they can glide between movements with grace.

Regardless of mood, Pride maintains a sense of humor with tossed-off lyrics and song titles that take potshots at beloved former bandmates ("New York City Is Full of Pussies") and record-label friends ("Keith on All Fours"). I'm guessing the latter refers to Guilt Ridden Pop owner Keith Moran, though I hesitate to assume anything more. The deliberately adolescent track is so out of place, it must be an inside joke. "If you fuck with me/You will see/I will fuck with you," goes the teenage punk chant on the 34-second song. Wait, did McCown leave for grad school or grade school?

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