Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You
The Mezzotint Label/Southbound
Back with his first album in nearly a decade, Mark Mulcahy manages (still) to pack so much into bright little pop songs. There’s jangle, there’s sass, there’s heart and hope and there are hints too of his former life/career, the sounds of Miracle Legion (and the obvious influences there, Go-Betweens, R.E.M., The dBs) still haunt in and his sound. Speaking of former life it’s worth mentioning that the delay in albums comes – quite horrifically – from Mulcahy being left to raise three year old twins; his wife dead at just 41.
It’s a miracle then that we’re even hearing music from him at all – and it’s most certainly something of a rebirth.
The music on this love-letter-to-self shines.
There are touches of Jonathan Richman’s whimsy but it’s tighter, sharper, no autism-spectrum goofing off here. There’s Velvet Underground-via-T-Rex chugging and towards the end of the record a handful of songs move from Go-Betweens trace-arounds to entering the dance that Kevin Rowland approximated out of Van Morrison’s mercurial Celtic soul music. The Nu Caledonia Soul sound of Dexys but with powerpop’s bite, with Pollard’s not always polite way of jamming several melodies into the elevator crawl-space of a song.
In just over half an hour, across 11 songs, half of them total gems, none of them duds, Mark Mulcahy has released a quietly hopeful, happy, lovely record. You should hear it.