In a Different Climate

Artist Mallard
Title In a Different Climate
Release Date Thursday, May 11, 2023
Genre Folk > Americana
Copyright © Virgin Records

Promotion Text

Second strike from Captain Beefheart's ex-band MALLARD - iconic Americana

Despite -- or because of -- an acrimonious split with their employer-guru, Captain Beefheart, Mallard's core trio of Bill Harkleroad (Zoot Horn Rollo), Mark Boston (Rockette Morton), and Art Tripp III (Ed Marimba) initially seemed to have weathered the experience well. Their self-titled debut album made a strong case for what the trio saw as their unsung contributions to shaping the Beefheartian sound, even if it wasn't a runaway chart-topper. On the surface, everything looks fine; Harkleroad's guitar work remains the obvious drawing card, while the band's interplay is sturdily self-assured. (The biggest change is the absence of Tripp, who'd gone back to working with Beefheart.) Vocalist Sam Galpin also acquits himself well (yet still sounds eerily like Beefheart, although he claimed not to have heard of him). The problem isn't the material, but the execution -- in this case, production that leans more firmly than ever toward the country-pop/soft vein explored on the debut album's "South of the Valley," an inclination underlined here by John McFee's guest appearance on pedal steel guitar. Although few rock fans understood the Magic Band's methods, they could respect their single-minded identity. Here, the boys seem less concerned with standing out than garnering some of that radio play (an understandable impulse, given their lack of success with Captain Beefheart). The best tracks uphold the left-field sensibility of yore. "Texas Weather" has some terrific imagery ("Cockroaches so big they bark/Water moccasins that lark in the dark"), while "Big Foot" posits the Sasquatch as one of nature's underdogs -- a theme that would have put a smile on Beefheart's face. It's hard to say where Mallard could have gone from here, since the band fizzled after this album's release."

Sam Galpin: vocals
Bill Harkleroad: guitars
Mark Boston: bass guitar, dobro (vocals on "Old Man Grey")
John Thomas: keyboards and backing vocals
George Draggota: drums
plus John McFee: pedal steel guitar on "Harvest"


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