The spirit and Spector of the West Coast live on
I first encountered Malojian aka Stevie Scullion a couple of years ago at an Americana Festival in Belfast when he was pitched into the middle of a host of more established singer-songwriters; but the shy cherubic looking singer very nearly stole the show.
His subsequent debut album Deer’s Cry certainly lived up to my expectations and now on the ‘difficult second album’ Stevie has corralled the band into the studio after delving into what sounds like his Dad’s record collection and taken a giant leap forward.
From the laid back sweetness of the opening track It Ain’t Easy, Malojian conjures up memories of latter day Beach Boys, Byrds and Steven Still Manassas records but with the added kicker of a luscious Phil Spector style production by Michael Mormecha.
All of the songs are incredibly imaginative and cleverly constructed; especially title track Southlands which has a timeless gentleness about it and even has the capacity to set the hair on the back of neck onto tingle mode.
On Broke and later What Am I Worth? Stevie’s naturally soft voice is perfect for both heartrending stories that will draw you into the narrative; and you just know he is tightly closing his eyes as the words ooze out alongside a beautiful backdrop of guitars, drums and an accordion.
Malojian even manages to throw a curve ball with the jug-band sounding, Bathtub Blues which features some lovely whistling on the chorus; but the Monty Pythonesque squawk at the end does grate after a while.
I always like to tell you about a favourite song; but on Southlands that’s very difficult as every track has its own virtues and would be the stand out track on many other albums so I have to give an honourable draw to the catchy single Communion Girls; as it’s not only a wonderful track but the sentiment took me back to my own teenage years when I first saw and fell in love with the girl who was to become my wife; and the other song is the album closer, Crease of Your Smile which; even though I’m an old romantic, still touched me in ways very few songs do as it to mirrors how I feel about the love of my life. Aaaahhh.
Southlands is a joy from start to finish and is certainly the album this young singer-songwriter was capable of producing; but I’m staggered he’s managed it so early in his career.
Released UK May 13th 2015