‘Ghost in the Mirror’ is the first song and lead single on the new release, but you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a track taken from the previous record.
Not that that’s a bad thing of course. Signals was an album packed with awesome instrumentals, rhythmic vocals and original, addictive hooks that are rarely heard in these days where YouTube disasters rule the charts.
The album was consistent but emphatic, and ‘Ghost in the Mirror’ recalls that flow, with a lively opening, supple but fast-flowing verses and energetic choruses carrying through to the finish.
This is a theme that continues through Asymmetry, with ‘Getaway’, an anthemic sing-a-long tune, and ‘Fire’, an insert with some awesome riffs and rhythms, proving the pick of the songs that maintain that template.
Despite some good work though, the Cambridge five-piece do seem to get a little lost at times. With ‘Shout At The Moon’ and ‘Heart & Desire’ they settle for lacklustre punk-pop rhythms heard hundreds of times before. You'll be screaming 'again?!' at your iTunes and shouting at MK to stop the poppy howling.
With the seven and a half minute ‘She Took Him To The Lake’ meanwhile, the band they go too far in the other direction, experimenting with styles in a ballad that contains glimmers of genius but should be half as long.
It’s on these numbers that the infamous pressure of the ‘second album’ can be felt. The need to polish and refine from a début record means Mallory Knox have had to sacrifice some of the raw power on Asymmetry that made Signals so successful.
The band do regroup for a grandstand finish though. ‘Lonely Hours’ suggests some genuine progression from previous work as great vocals from Mikey Chapman are met with a subdued but perfectly orchestrated instrumental offering.
The result is one of the best tracks on the album, and it sets you up neatly for concluding couple ‘The Remedy’ and ‘Dare You’. The former is a punchy, dramatic number that shows the ingenuity some of the previous numbers lacked. The latter is a daring end to the record, with over a minute of sick guitar and drum work leading up to an addictive rhythm and appropriate end.
These concluding songs prove what most of us already know – that Mallory Knox are up there with the best in Britain and have the potential to turn global stars. They just have to harness that original edge heard in their best material first and turn away from the samey template that makes much of the middle of this album a bit of a drag.
That’s not to say it’s not an enjoyable record of course – there are some brilliant songs and song certain chart hits on the tracklist – but overall, it’s just not quite as powerful or addictive as you would hope such a release would be.