Call Me Malcolm

I Was Broken When You Got Here

Written by: MAK on 14/03/2018 12:47:07

How often do you come across an album that makes you go, “This is possibly one of the best albums of this genre in the last decade”? It takes a lot to leave that kind of impression yet London-based ska punks, Call Me Malcolm have launched out of the blocks with an album that will have ska-punk fans obsessing over for some time to come. We bring you “I Was Broken When You Got Here”, which arrives a lengthy four years after 2014’s “We Did This To Ourselves”. In that time, Call Me Malcolm have unleashed a couple of EP’s and gained some popularity in the United Kingdom’s DIY scenes through heavy touring, but even then, it hasn’t prepared us for a release of this quality. When listening to the older material, you could tell this was a band that had potential but was still very much in the basement show phase of their musical careers. Now it feels like Call Me Malcolm have taken their time, thought about a bigger picture and have come much closer to reaching that potential.

The album acts like a therapy tape as if it is exactly what you need in your life, with a female voice lulling you into a calm state before the punchy riffs and horns of “The Gentleman And The Onion” come in to grab your full attention along with the impeccable drum fills. This track launches into a captivating hit that combines the angst of British skacore with the infectious upbeat nature of third wave ska. The guitars have a nice crunch when they are heavy and make you want to bang your head, yet the upstroke rhythms entice you to get your feet moving. The icing on the cake is that the chorus is so catchy, it’s aching for radio play. This is followed up by the video track, “There's No "I" In Apocalypse”, which was the first taste we all had of this album. The brass melodies really hook you in, to the point you will be humming after just a couple of listens. Again, we have a chorus that has the charm to get demand lots of airplay, it’s a pure third wave anthem to lose your voice to. Two songs in and you get that feeling you are already on to something special.

“Restore Factory Settings” slows things down, unleashing the reggae ska influences with the same kind of calibre to “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” by Less Than Jake. Oddly enough it has the same vibe of cheerful music layered underneath lyrics about the downbeat things in life, like having a mental breakdown. “Inside Out” then chimes in like a song that Reel Big Fish might have written in their prime, it’s incredibly happy, from the funky rhythms and the major key brass hooks. It’s poppy ska-punk at its absolute best. “Jacob” stands out on the album as the least ska punk sounding song as it flaunts mostly the characteristics of skate punk and pop-punk. The grittier riffs and steady, up-tempo drum beats are reminiscent of UK punks, The Liabilities, with a hint of pop-punk influences coming from the likes Sum 41 in the chorus.

The next few tracks take us through the motions of yet more infectious melodies, and happy musical tones that will make you want to skank around. While there is no filler to this album, it’s not until the amusingly named “Show Me What You Got” that truly screams of another outright anthem on our hands. The title is clearly a reference that fans of Rick and Morty will pick up. It’s a masterpiece track that blends alt-rock with swing-influenced ska-punk. A song that unleashes the most enchanting horn patterns on the album, balanced out by heavier riffs and yet another delightful chorus. This trend continues for the last couple of songs on the album, unveiling the best of third wave and skacore on both “Now Wait For Last Year” and the epic album closer “All My Nameless Friends” which feels like they have saved some of the best moments for last. Everything we have heard, from the alluring brass to the punchy riffage and catchy sing-along hooks, is multiplied tenfold and then gives us great big “Whoa” chant at the end to join in with.

The outro suggests that if the album hasn’t yet fixed you, then you should click play again. You should click that button again anyway because this is one of the best ska-punk albums written since the likes of Less Than Jake’s “Anthem”, especially where third wave ska is concerned. It’s an album that puts various types of ska in a blender with skate punk and pop-punk and has produced a countless list of songs that deserve endless airplay. Call Me Malcolm have mastered the art of creating hits without losing anything that makes them who they are, which is a hell of an achievement. Topically the band feels like they have matured too, this is an album that tells the story of mental health and dealing with loss, while the music is cheerful, the band explores dark corners of their mind, the stigma of depression and what it takes to come out of it whole. A step up is an understatement, this is an album of the year contender where fans of the genre are concerned.


Download: The Gentleman and the Onion, There's no "I" In The Apocalypse, All My Nameless Friends, Show Me What You Got
For The Fans Of: Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, The Hostiles, Goldfinger

Release date 06.04.2018
Bad Granola Records

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