What is the sound of Malojian? The sound of Malojian is ragtime and White Album whimsy, grunge, essence of parlour song and jet-powered synth lines that go hurtling across the octave. What is the meaning of Malojian? The meaning of Malojian is domestic zen, global horrorshow, empathy, endearment and gleaming soul. Is Malojian any good? Malojian is good, always.
HUMM reverberated so strongly with the gestalt that the record release was brought forward from September 2020 to March. It became the soundtrack to spectral city walks and anxious shopping trips. Songs like ‘Burns’ emerged as alternative gospel songs, shelter in a bad hour. ‘Tsundoku’ took the Japanese concept of buying too many books and the songwriter made this into an antidote for social distancing. Rather, Steve Scullion urged us to amass great stockpiles of love.
As the clutch slipped on the capitalist machine, Malojian considered ‘The Golden Age’, a wonky reverie about ZX Spectrum games and the insidious techno dream. Significantly, the co-producer of Stevie’s album was Jason Lytle, sometime figure with Grandaddy, whose 2000 release The Sophtware Slump was a major essay on computer decay and planetary exhaustion.
Meantime, out of another memory trope, the night sky of Armagh was disturbed by army helicopters. A Troubles flashback was enacted while Stevie strummed and related to his old Neil Young record about space travel and a burnt-out basement. The throb of the engines on ‘Chinooks’ was alarming but the tune put you in a peculiar mood.
There was some respite in the glam-boogie of ‘Trampoline’ – again seeking for human uplift in the tumult. But Stevie was too honest to engineer an easy departure. Instead, he left his listeners with ‘Singularity’. He was setting all his fears out, itemising them with admirable intent. The song was tremulous and spare like Roy Orbison in a cavernous, lonely place.
And that was where Stevie signed off. Just as the bodycount started to spin like the totaliser on a pinball machine. As the political leaders told filthy stories and the rich guys sent dispatches from their yachts. We knew it would worsen but the scale was unimaginable. We listened again.
This, we fretted, was how it all might end. Not with a bang, but a HUMM.
(Humm is currently available via Bandcamp. Click here to purchase)