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Ugly Side of Love (2009) , 6.5/10
Return to the Ugly Side (2011), 5/10

English duo Malachai (Gary Ealey and Scott Hendy) introduced themselves as late pupils of Bristol's school of trip-hop on their Ep 1 (Island Records, 2007).

Ugly Side of Love (Invada, 2009) did not quite renege on that school but it certainly expanded the concept to absorb all sorts of vestiges of the 1960s: garage-rock (Warriors), blues-rock (Snowflake), funk (Lay Down Stay Down), acid-rock (Only For You), Merseybeat (Another Song). One moment they sound like the Loving Spoonful (How Long) and the next one they sound like the Moody Blues (Simple Song). They are at their best when they indulge in some kind of demented prog-psychedelic rock (Shitkicker). And they are most credible when they embrace the sardonic tone of the freaks of the 1960s (the Fugs to start with). They were stylitic forgers who recreated the sound of the early hard-rock bands (such as Iron Butterfly, Heart, Bachman-Turner Overdrive) by pasting together vintage samples and real instruments at the computer.

Return to the Ugly Side (2011) was a further and even more senseless incursion into the garage psychedelia of the 1960s. The focus this time seemed to be on creating a distinctive sound rather than crafting memorable songs, and they achieved neither goal.

But their albums were entertaining as post-modernist jokes, poking fun at the countless revivals of the era while proving the iconic value of the originals.

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(Copyright © 2010 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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