by Jovana Golubovic
VANCOUVER – En-route to Nelson B.C., MALK stop to enjoy some beverages under a bridge when I call. They are in the middle of their first tour, performing their high-energy show to Western Canadian audiences, without a setlist. “We follow our guts,” explains vocalist/guitarist Alex Smith, “There’s something about calling it as you go. You just kind of know.”
So far the response at shows has been positive, especially in Lethridge Alberta which Smith celebrates as having a special place in his heart as it reminds him of his hometown. That town is Abbotsford where Smith met his musical match, Kyle Schick (vocals/guitar), and the band was formed, joined along with Jaydee Bateman on drums/vocals, and Lou Labbe on bass.
MALK released their first EP Prehistoric in 2014 and are now gracing us with their first full-length effort, Born Elated through Dipstick Records. In less than 30 minutes of run time, Born Elated weaves through mood and genre brilliantly, from the gruff doo-wop of “Killing Time” to the delicate yearning of “Berlin.” Strong melodies and a mature use of dynamics show respect for songwriting, borrowing from influences like The Beatles, The Strokes, and The Pixies, while retaining originality. The guitars and vocal harmonies shine throughout, and the band achieves a full sound with few overdubs: the result of great playing, arrangement, and production. The album was produced by Felix Fung at Little Red Sounds. “He’s old school,” Smith says of Fung, “All the basic instruments were recorded live off the floor, vocals separately. One or two overdubs of guitar. Other than that, pretty much what you hear is what it is. If we played the best we could possibly play, it would sound like that.”
When they return from the road, MALK are eager to head back into the studio, but not for another full-length project. “We’d like to have two EPs out next year,” states Smith, “An LP is a big commitment. We want to try different things and see what kind of reception we get from different stuff. In the days of short attention spans, you can stretch more out of an EP… It gives you time to try new things.”
MALK’s new album Born Elated is available now on iTunes