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Ugly Side Of Love

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Ugly Side Of Love album cover
Snake Charmer
Meeches Theme
Only For You
Lay Down Stay Down
Another Sun
How Long
Fading World
Simple Song
Album Information

Total Tracks: 13   Total Length: 32:49

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Wondering Sound

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Amelia Raitt


Amelia Raitt is a former writer for the television program Mr. Belvedere and has been writing about pop music of all colors and stripes for eMusic since 2005. S...more »

Malachai, Ugly Side of Love
2010 | Label: Domino Recording Co

Falling somewhere between grand, grizzled R&B and worked-up electronic music, the UK act Malachai manages to be menacing and sexy at the same time. This kind of music — the kind that straddles two widely disparate genres — can get cloying fast, but Malachai commit to their task with such enthusiasm it's hard to mind. To wit: "Snowflake," where the group matches a sexy, soulful vocal to a door-busting electronic thud, proving there is, in… read more »

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I downloaded this on a whim based on a "Spin" magazine article about the band. This album is one of my favorites of 2009. It's beyond classification, but that's what makes it so damn good.

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Oh snap


First off, great album. Really fun cheeky throwback psych-garage rock sound. If you happened to catch this release on eMusic last year when it was originally released (before they were forced to change their name to "Malachai" instead of "Malakai") the album had 1 extra track ("Omega Time"). It's no longer there, so if you grabbed it like I did, consider yourself lucky.

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Portishead with acoustic guitars? A3 doing blues?


Really great album but awfully hard to pigeonhole (which is part of the charm). A3 and Portishead are good reference points, but that being said, the album goes off in a direction all its own. Try Snowflake, Fading World, How Long, Shitkicker for the general idea.

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Hawt Dayammn!


It's like a dark, happy, hard-fightin', soft-lovin' Rock sandwich! They've found a way to cram so many different genres into this album nearly flawlessly...I'm not even sure how to review it.

They Say All Music Guide

There may indeed be nothing new under the sun, but the cunningly crafty Bristol duo Malachai have hit on some fairly novel and idiosyncratic ways of reinvigorating the sounds of bygone days, while drawing their proudly retrogressive sonic cues from a surprisingly under-plundered patch of the pop-history dustbin. Ugly Side of Love is a rambunctious pastiche of classic British AOR, circa 1968-1973 — a pastiche in the sense of unabashed stylistic mimicry — steeped deep in the grooves of psychedelic and progressive rock, sunny power pop, high-octane blues, gritty white boy soul, and even early metal – as well as a motley and often muddled hodge-podge, structurally and sonically. Unlike other nostalgia-fueled, sample-driven aural patchwork quilts, however — the Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike and Jason Forrest’s Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash are both useful reference points, although this album isn’t anywhere near as giddily hyperactive — this album presents Malachai less as cheeky post-everything ironists than as grinning but largely reverent revivalists, playing things surprisingly straight-faced behind their monkey masks. Even if their purposely murky working methods are clearly a good deal removed from your typical ’70s psych-blues outfit, Ugly Side of Love would sound shockingly plausible if presented as a newly rediscovered artifact from four decades past. Virtually every sound here, including all sorts of rudimentary electronic manipulations — backwards tape loops, vocal phasing, cavernous reverb, vinyl scratches, rhythmically slipshod looped drum breaks — could conceivably have been heard on any number of the era’s trippier platters, and apart from a couple of credited and/or recognizable sourcings (the Guess Who’s “Hand Me Down Love” forms the basis for “How Long,” and, apparently, a loop of sunny soft popster Daniel Boone powers the blisteringly righteous stomper “Snowflake”), it’s confoundingly hard to tell how much of the album is composed of samples, even if Malachai are sometimes downright sloppy about leaving audible seams. Indeed, the ramshackle quality of the production is entirely in keeping with the loose, quasi-analog aesthetic, and given the psychedelic excesses of the period, the album’s formal oddities (brief, inscrutable interludes; barely there song structures; one-off stylistic cul-de-sacs like the peppy beach-party strum-along “Moonsurfin’” or the gloom-soaked, Geoff Barrow-assisted lysergic dirge “Only for You”) might not be so out of place either. As refreshing and intriguing as it is on a sonic level, though, Ugly Side of Love might remain no more than a curiosity if not for its copious, pervasive musicality: abundantly funky boogie rock grooves, broiling guitar licks, and subtle but deep-penetrating melodic hooks that, with repeated listens, threaten to strong arm even ear-candy confections like “Lay Down Stay Down” (with its propulsive, Can-like drumming and mariachi trumpets), thanks in large part to the compelling and versatile vocals of frontman Gee, whose grittily powerful pipes are uncannily well-suited to this particular stylistic potpourri, switching off handily between honeyed (“Another Sun”), menacing (“Blackbird”), and earnestly soulful (“Fading World.”) Heady stuff, indeed. – K. Ross Hoffman

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