New Music from Brookside Mall

Category: music 114

Preservation is brimming with emotion and honesty. The EP arrives April 14 via Front Porch Records.

Matt Carter

a2882854675_10When Brookside Mall released their debut EP, 2016’s Young Champion, the band had just grown from the founding duo of Brendan MaGee (vocals/keys) and Josh Steeves (drums) to a trio with the addition of bassist Dylan Ward. The EP marked a big step forward for the band – which up until that time had only released one track, 2015’s Philadelphia – but as a trio, they hadn’t yet settled into their new boots, so to speak. But that’s all changed now. This month the group returns to bolster their discography with the brand new EP, Preservation (Front Porch Records), a six-track collection of songs self-described as being, “steeped in clouded nostalgia, open wounds and a weighty, permanent what-if”.

Preservation is a testament to how a year’s worth of performing, writing and recording can take a group’s chemistry to new heights. On this EP, the songwriting remains drenched in honest vulnerability with MaGee’s one-of-a-kind, highly-relatable, cry-along choruses backed by the group’s strongest arrangements to date, with all three musicians contributing greater depth to the band’s synth-driven sound.

“Last time around, Dylan joined Brookside Mall just in time to track the bass on Young Champion,” said MaGee, whose lyrical delivery exists somewhere between slam-poet and pop-prophet. “Those songs were fleshed out by Josh and I in our early days of performing, and their composition didn’t alter drastically from how we’d played them prior. Now, Dylan and Josh have coalesced into the perfect spine for the band, and I feel a lot more comfortable in our skin.”

In short, Preservation finds the group with polished and confident.

“It makes it easier to head in the direction I’ve always wanted to see these songs go in,” said MaGee. “As well, shedding shyness to invite friends who we admire onto these tracks was crucial to their completion. The contributions from Nick Cobham, Jane Blanchard and Cedric Noel, as well as from engineer Chris McLean are so wonderful and fitting for this album. I know we’re grateful to all of them.”

From the first notes of the EP’s opening track Eternal Summer, through to the closing anthem of Garden, MaGee and Ward take turns carrying each song’s melody forward, confident in the dynamic they’ve created. Together with Steeves, they’ve raised the hometown bar for pop hooks and catchy melodies that exist ever so slightly off-centre, right where you want them.

 

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