3*

  Malpas      Rain, River, Sea

Malpas makes their full length debut with Rain, River, Sea. The album is a collection of previous single/EP releases and new tracks from mixing engineer Andy Savours (who has worked on release from Sigur Ros and  My Bloody Valentine among others) and his collaborator singer/songwriter Ali Forbes.

The duo cover a lot of ground on Rain, River, Sea and, for me, that works both for and against them. Certainly influences from Radiohead’s classic OK Computer and Kid A era as well as Avicii and, of course, Sigur Ros can be heard here, but it’s Forbes folk channeling of Jeremy Enigk and Thom Yorke vocally that really endear me to this album.

“Where the River Runs” is a highlight here in my opinion and perhaps the best tune on the album. It’s a glitchy pop gem that has both a strong melody and atmosphere. It’s an easy song to get lost in and Forbes voice is completely mesmerizing. The folktronica feel of “Us Afloat” is another great moment that is full of acoustic instruments that feel lost at sea. It has this cool undercurrent to it that makes you feel like The Beach Boys are performing on an island somewhere with EDM producers backing them. I enjoy “Here Comes the Rain” for many of the same reasons, however it’s a much more straightforward offering overall. This is another song that Forbes absolutely shines on.

I enjoyed this album a good bit. I love the atmosphere it has, but the feel of it being a “singles” sounding album interrupts my good vibes if I’m being honest. For the most part, this is a pretty interesting album that will appeal to people looking for something more experimental in the EDM world. There are some great beats, but they are never allowed to overtake the songs, which is a big plus in my book. So, I guess maybe you’d call this song-oriented EDM rather than dance oriented EDM? Either way, I look forward to hearing more from Malpas.

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