Joel Mallen ‘What A Day’

Discover Joel Mallen’s kaleidoscopic alt-pop anthem.

Joel Mallen – ‘What A Day’

‘Breathe the ocean air, would you rather be anywhere?’ opens Joel Mallen’s ‘What A Day’. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a story of blue-skied voyages or holiday beaches, it’s something a little darker and stranger. Mallen cites ‘a love affair with a siren’ as the inspiration for this track – but it can still be enjoyed as an upbeat indie tune.

Joel Mallen is an artist with roots in both Manchester and Leeds. This track is the lead single from his upcoming debut EP ‘Rapture’, due in June 2024.

‘What A Day’ is a glorious alt-pop track with influences of funk and neo-soul, that balances darker themes with a shiny aesthetic.

The lyrics narrate a love story with evocative lyrics – ‘taste your emerald lips, palate tingle, you emerged from callous, salty depths…’ – yet it gets stranger, more abstract and visceral as the song progresses. There’s obsession and self-loathing in lines like ‘I want you coursing through my vessels’ and ‘you struck a nerve, I flinch and spasm.’ This is combined with dreamy melodies and delivered in Mallen’s pure, powerful vocals, which takes the edge off the darkness.

The production opens with sharp percussion and bright, creatively used guitars. Unexpected harmonies add a tinge of psychedelia and neo-soul to the whole affair, as the track builds up with lush vocal harmonies and quavering synths to a big, guitar-solo climax. Fans of artists like Bjork and Peter Gabriel will definitely find something to enjoy in this strong and distinctive debut.

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Words Eden Tredwell

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