The British rock scene has been a place of total majesty over the past two years producing bands left, right and centre of genuine talent, tenacity and undeniable quality. Within this exciting period Mallory Knox have not only formed but steadily blossomed into one of those astonishing bands themselves. Last year's debut Pilot EP was a killer and instantly-grabbing introduction to the Cambridgeshire quintet and their time on the live circuit since has served to tighten them musically while they got to work on their debut album proper behind the scenes. With said album now finished and ready to be unleashed, have the band delivered on all this early promise? The answer is a giant irrepressible yes and they've not only delivered on it as having completely knocked it out of the proverbial ball park.
Signals is an album that puts the band up there with the Deaf Havanas of our world and its strength at this early point is astonishing. Much in the vein of recent releases from such bands as the latter, it's a total runaway belter with a consistency of the very top tier, essentially any song could be released as a single and you'd be applauding the band's choice. It's straight out of the traps, no messing about at all, with the giant chorus and bleeding verses of opener Beggars before flying straight in with the monumental Lighthouse, without any doubt one of, if not the, best song of the band's career so far. Frontman Mikey Chapman and bassist Sam Douglas trading vocal lines beautifully and with such a furious vitality and precision that it pretty much takes your head right off. And it just doesn't let up for the entirety of the eleven tracks comprised. Stunning single Death Rattle hits with blunt emotional force that makes you headbang uncontrollably as its chorus rides into view, Chapman impressively plays around with his acrobatic vocal lines on Wake Up and the more measured 1949 takes things down a step without losing any intensity or resonance.
Guitar maestros James Gillett and Joe Savins completely slay it throughout too with involving, interesting and unusual guitar-lines appearing all over the place, Dave Rawling sounding righteously thunderous on the drum kit too, most impressively on the closing Creeper, another song that could very justifiably qualify as the band's best. That song in particular feels like the perfect galaxy-sized ending to a triumph of a debut album that could respectively soundtrack introspectively looking up at and taking in the ethereal sunsetting sky or roaring down the world's tallest mountain on a skateboard. Chapman's final musings of whether we'd care "if truth and pride would die at all" and "all we are is broken" channelling an emotive darkness through an irrepressibly uplifting multi-faceted surrounding of sound, a theme prevalent throughout the album.
Signals is an engagingly honest, envelopingly triumphant, swirling river of a debut that hooks you in with total ease and confidence. This is a record that could very likely put Mallory Knox up there with the UK's best bands and lead into 2013 as a period where they become something phenomenal.