Following its predecessors, Signals and Asymmetry, Mallory Knox see Wired as a mark of progression – a significant step forward compared to the diagonal side-step of Asymmetry. There is, however, a thematic continuation of Asymmetry running deep within this new record. We see a resurfacing of core themes – love, pain, vulnerability – but Wired is more revealing in its exploration of the interior. It delves deep into the afflicted mind, searching the desolation and examining its wounded relationship with the exterior – of love and the relational.
Wired opens with vigour – ‘Giving it Up’, ‘California’ and ‘Wired’ set a forceful pace and tone for the record. Mallory Knox are masterful in their ability to juxtapose roaring aggression with melodic elegance – letting loose their surging verses that erupt into towering, anthemic alt-rock choruses. Though briefly subsiding for calmer chapters, like the lyrically heartfelt and apologetic fourth track ‘For You’, the forcible power and pace of the record prevails. We see various aspects of internal desolation: self-imprisonment in ‘Wired’ (“I’m trapped inside of my skin”), the loss of identity in ‘For You’ (“I’m so lost from who I was”), and emotional numbness in ‘Better Off Without You’ (“I barely feel sad, I rarely feel happy”). Fear, sickness, and exhaustion are also among the wreckage. The songs are closely related in their thematic projection of pain and vulnerability, deriving from the band’s own mental health experiences. Caught amongst the dark haze, however, emerge bright sparks of romantic empowerment and bliss, and a determination to recover; to “get better”.
The co-ordinated vocal force of Chapman and Douglas is resilient and melodious, Chapman’s fiery vocal vitality bursting through in numerous areas. The lead guitar parts drive the tracks with a high-flying melodic diversity and energy, rising up to take the helm in multiple tracks with some glorious solos. Well-rooted, intricate drum and bass work prove strong foundational layers that also impress when taking the reins. ‘Giving It Up’, ‘California’, ‘Midnight’, and ‘Mother’ are personal favourites, but the album is excellent in its entirety. Wired is a record exposing interior vulnerability and pursuing recovery; powerful, harmonious and fluid in delivery, it’s worth the ride.By Sam Huntley