It’s two years since the duo of Marcus Malone and Innes Sibun released their first album Come Together, and now they’re back with a four-song EP knocking out more of their earthy brand of blues-rock.
‘Makin’ It’ opens up with a rat-a-tat drum intro, setting up a shuffling rhythm to go with a booty-shaking bass groove from the ubiquitous Roger Inniss, rocking organ, and bright and bopping rhythm guitar. All of which is the platform not just for Malone’s trademark sassy’n’soulful vocal, but for some yowling, FX-heavy guitar breaks from (I assume) Sibun.
‘Ashes To Dust’ itself features a nagging, stuck-needle riff combined with more eye-popping guitar licks around the verse. It’s the precursor to a slower, grander chorus draped in swathes of organ from Moz Gamble, while Malone goes for an epically framed romantic lyric, all “winds of change,” “the future is burning stars,” and, of course, “ashes to dust”.
Their take on Willie Dixon’s ‘Evil’ doesn’t carry Howlin’ Wolf’s air of lurking menace, but it’s still a rip-snorting affair built on clattering drums and a Zeppish stop-start stairway of a riff, while Malone agonises about relationship devilry. Then they close the book with the yearning, plangent ‘Restless Heart’. Here we have a rootsy, folk-soul-blues type tune featuring rolling and rippling Dobro, over long notes of chapel-like organ, with sensitive, sometimes harmonised vocals on the top. It’s a second cousin to the acoustic sections of ‘Taste Of Your Love’, from their debut album, but worth repeated listening in its own right.
Ashes To Dust is a strong and focused appetiser from Malone Sibun. Bring on the next main course.