Jay Malinowski & The Deadcoast – Martel

Jay Malinowski & The Deadcost - Martel

Band: Jay Malinowski & The Deadcoast
Album: Martel

Written by: Chiara DiAngelo

Jay Malinowski’s latest effort, the introspective Martel, delves into the historical and imagined life story of Malinowski’s ancestor, sailor Charles Martel. A double concept album, there are 9 songs on the “Pacific” side and 9 on the “Atlantic” side with the album’s storytelling nature threading the two together. With instrumentals shrouded in minimalism compared to the lush, summery vibes of Malinowski’s other project, Bedouin Soundclash, you are flung out to the lonesome emptiness you would expect to find at the edge of the world, left to roam the craggy dunes alone.

Beginning in Nova Scotia, shadowy spoken words on opening track “Main-A-Dieu” invite the listener in to glimpses of the life and times of the mysterious protagonist. Nary a storm warning in sight, the dark and brooding piano- and strings-driven melodies surge you forward until you reach “Donzoko Blues (April Fool’s).” Like gentle undulating waves off the rocky coast of a deserted island, the tropical strings on this track offer a breath of fresh spring air; you can almost smell the cherry blossoms that mark the beginning of the season. Lost and lingering melodies on tracks such as “Patience Phipps (The Best of You)” and “Singapore Sling” are drizzled with Southern and Cajun flairs you would expect from Martel’s world travels. Rhythmic drumming and cheery harmonies on “Sloop John B” capture the good vibrations of the original Beach Boys version before the album transitions to the Atlantic side, which is cloaked with the heavy weight of inexplicable sadness.

Long, dark chords on “Set Me Free” and “Up the Cross” are paired with vaudeville-like keys, plunking you down front and center at an old-time derelict theatre in the heart of a ragtag seaport town. The highlight of the Atlantic though comes in the form of Chuck Ragan’s gruff guest vocals on the nearly tribal-like “Carnival Celebration #2.” The desperate and forlorn sense of yearning held within Malinowski’s harrowed falsetto on “Skulls and Bones” spills over into next track “The Reckoning” that sadly remains on the cusp of blooming into something grander until it comes to a close. A compass pointing in the direction of home, the album ends back in Nova Scotia with an echoed hollowness of chilling keys. Like a bell tolling, there is a feeling of drifting back to sea – perhaps in a casket – out to an ocean grave at the end of a tumultuous life. Finally to rest in peace.

Released on February 11, you can catch Malinowski in Toronto at The Great Hall on April 4. And if you want to delve deeper into the stories behind the album, I fully urge you to get lost in Malinowski’s penned words collected in the novel Skulls & Bones. You can also explore a map of Martel’s travels at sea and the corresponding tracklist locations here. It definitely makes for one of the most unique listening experiences you are likely to be granted in the foreseeable future.


Categories: Recorded


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