Dave Mulcahy might be one of the hardest-working musicians in New Zealand, dedicated to following his muse and fuck radio or the charts or any labels (both record labels and genres) – just get the work out there. Do the work. His Mulchzoid moniker houses his electronica-tinged music; I say tinged because there’s still guitars, drums, standard song-shapes, this isn’t weird and wonderful – well it’s often quite wonderful – but it sure isn’t (just) conventional.
In fact, brand new album Dark Horse has me thinking to that time The Dandy Warhols hung on to being good for a bit and released one of the better Duran Duran album, man it has me thinking back to INXS’s Kick (probably not part of the plan) and to that great darkness in the best of Chris Matthews’ music and to the great, great albums of SJD. There’s a sense of humour here too, as is often the way in Mulcahy’s music, Dark Horse feels like dystopian visions from someone (the character singing the songs) who hasn’t left the house; wouldn’t ever bother.
Here’s the clip for the opening track, Bluebird. If you like that – and if you have ears, you should – then there’s a bloody good chance you’re gonna dig this album.
Dance To Forget has that great 80s pop naivety about it, Septum and Dreamachine house mild-euphoria, and The Civil Agreement rides a dark pulse. Jawbreaker is the best new song Iggy Pop will never write and Shadow Of A Doubt has a cool charm to it, reminders again of that Dandys album – I dare not ever listen to that again though. So I’m more than happy to have this.
Mulcahy’s voice still has those pilfered-from-Pixies sounds, traces of the magic from Superette and before that his part in JPSE.
It’s heartening, always, to hear this guy’s music – pumping it out there, providing so much from so little; these simple (deceptively simple) homemade recordings. Yes, yes, you can hook yourself up with the album for free, or as little as you like – but give the guy some money. He works hard and he’s making always-interesting music across a handful of pseudonyms now. And shit this is good. Just a half-hour, nine songs, he gets in and gets out, no fucking around, no filler. Just nine strong songs. A range of ideas. If only a few others could get it this right this often.