Bill Mallonee - Perfumed Letter
Admiration is required for Bill Mallonee's sheer guts - when an easy life was welcoming him in the alt.country scene, he chose to follow his muse and release a series of pop-rock albums which were generally misunderstood by his fanbase. The present album - his third studio album in a two year period - manages to shrug off some of the uncertainty that lingered on the Summershine album and keeps plugging away at the same vein but with a different twist.
The psychedelic spirit comes to visit the album with some Mellotron-laden tunes (She's So Liquid, 2 become 1 and the beautiful Silver Transparent), as well as the complete absence of acoustic guitars. Though not exactly easy listening, it is probably as laid-back as Mallonee has been in a long time - even the rockier tracks (Life On Other Planets, Extraordinary Girl) seem pretty mellow and angst-free - not necessarily a bad thing either, since the subtlety of his music and the depth of the production are all the more evident here. Lyrically, Mallonee is renowned for his confessional style lyrics - something he wouldn't argue with (see our interview with him) - but he appears to have taken a more oblique slant this time, whimsically and playfully charting the highs and lows of his life, with a certain quietude seeping through his melancholia - or maybe the opposite.
Though the influence of George Harrison, Brian Wilson and the Byrds are quite obvious here, they avoid laying claim to the album, making this another cleverly good release from the prolific singer-songwriter. Refreshingly genuine but genuinely talented, Mallonee may be too versatile for his own good but Perfumed Letter is one of those albums that grows on you - well worth investigating.
Two tracks are available for download at PasteMusic
More about Mallonee on his website