Disingenuine artists flooding the music industry builds a need for artists with an authentic, distinct rawness and individualized sound. Enter singer-songwriter and New York native Mal Blum. On Pity Boy LP — Blum’s fifth album, but second with Don Giovanni Records — they integrate aspects of folk, punk and indie music complemented with poetic, yet comical lyrics dripping with tales of assessing their role in the grand scheme that’s life.
Alongside guitarist Audrey Zee Whitesides, bassist Barrett Lindgren and drummer Ricardo Lagomasino, their intersection of genres, shifting levels of intensity and prevalence of the guitar lends to an unpolished yet genuine sound of true musicianship in line with other East Coast folk punk artists like The Front Bottoms and The Menzingers.
Opening track “Things Still Left To Say” indoctrinates the listener into the witty sadness of their lyrics, but with an upbeat essence in the music that provokes hope and sets forth the precedent for Pity Boy LP. The introductory line “Another year already/How you hoped that it would come” refers to the role of time across the album noting the years passed characterizing different periods within their twenties. The upbeat hope is replaced with track “Splinter” that demonstrates the conflict of not succumbing to sadness. They seemingly capture the pain associated with a splinter and its evolution into an annoyance where every little thing one does irritates the penetrated area. And as Blum offers, may become infected. This sadness and superficial optimism is met with the serene howl of an acoustic guitar filling the backdrop.
Coming off a more slow-downed indie essence, the electric punk-esque track “Did You Get What You Wanted” resurges the energy. The anthemic chorus builds anticipation for an epic sing-along during Blum’s performances of this track on their upcoming North American tour. Flooding through the emotions associated with attempting to understand their role in the complexities of relationships provokes a comical outlook from Blum on track “I Don’t Want To.” The lyrics “And you do yoga/And you don’t feel complicated about it/And you go out/When you come home it’s never [outta need?]” serves as another way they amalgamate comedy and genuine emotions with juxtaposition as seen by poking fun at yoga and detailing annoyance about being out of tune with others.
Immediately following is “Salt Flats” — the most vulnerable and heart-wrenching track off the album — that captures an overwhelming sense of love and loss that leads you to think about your first love, first loss and the indescribable amount of “What if’s?” each time the repetitive chorus “It can’t take it back/Take it back” hits. Listening to Pity Boy LP heightens the emotions you have going into it. If you want to bop, dance to “Things Still Left To Say.” If you want to loathe, sulk to “Splinter.” If you want to feel like a badass, parade around to “Did You Get What You Wanted.” And if you feel torn, contemplate to “Salt Flats.”