Parkland: Singularity (Off Season)
Vancouver-based musician Rob Malowany has spent the past decade releasing varied albums under the Devilsplender name as well as collaborations with poet/songwriter Rodney DeCroo and hosting the fun Satan’s Cabaret podcast. None of which will prepare listeners for the music being made on this six track album. Working with dobro player Robin Hunter (a longtime collaborator) and Fond of Tigers Stephen Lyons (drums) and Shanto Acharia (cello) as well as trumpeter Kevin Elaschuk, Malowany is at his most pensive and expansive on the opening ambient balladry of Compatriots – giving his ideas lots of room to develop as the track logs in at just under 14 minutes – which boasts a plaintive vocal that at least one person who heard the album thought sounded similar to Matthew Good. Then there is the almost ambient improv of Wonderful Heartache, which builds on an almost churchical vocal over Acharia’s bowing in the far background, while Singularity is akin to a country raga. Drinking Glue sounds like it should be a downer, and the verse does refrain on “you make me blue” but the tune has almost progressive rock/pop sensibility in its arrangements. OK, not totally radio-friendly, but Malowany’s piano riff is quite addictive as the song’s driving riff. the closing tune Lost My Heart has a woeful requiem to love lyric which is one of the strongest this artist has ever done. As a statement of a new beginning, a new direction and a creative talent finding new terrain to cover, Parkland is somewhere many will want to play.
- S. Derdeyn (The Province)
Michael & the Slumberland Band
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