Mallory Johnson - Drunk Mind Sober Heart / Hungover
In these days of digital releases we have something of a blast from the past in the sense of a double A single or a "Double Shot Digital 45" as it is referred to. With a cover aptly putting Mallory behind a glass of wine casting out a somewhat formidable stare this release covers different aspects of the affect of alcohol.
"Drunk Mind Sober Heart" within its three minutes question just how ex an "ex" is and looks at just how much alcohol can effect ones opinions of a past relationship. The song open with Mallory maligning an ex - "I only hear from you when your drinking", and the hurt is clearly there unlike the other person who is "like nothing ended, didn't leave a scar".
For the opening section it is just Mallory singing with in an almost Irish folk like lilt to an acoustic guitar and it works to great effect. Co written with Tenile Arts and Kae Bellows the song plays with the conventions of this sort of song even the chorus subtly subverts things with the repeated use of the word" try"
"You try to tell me that you still love me and I try to say, you're in over your head"
As the song develops so does the instrumentation and there follows a quick hint that the the effects of drink work both ways, for while "Most days we're doing fine, out of sight out of mind" there is the reminder that "One more sip and it ignites a spark". Things reach a head in the bridge with Mallory admitting that she is wavering herself "I don't know why I feel this way one more round and I might break enough to miss you enough to wish you to stay". The song is made by Mallory's wistful vocals, allowed to shine out front in this stripped back recording, just listen to the way she lingers on the final word of the song.
The companion track "Hungover" is a completely different affair but again takes a wry look at all aspects of imbibing too much. Anyone who can associate with the line "Tequila got the best of me" will surely be at one with the description of just quite how if feels the next morning "The room just keeps on spinning hands are shaking ears are ringing, I'm feeling all kinds of regrets I'm cold and nauseated and a little dehydrated" It could have been a simple hangover song, there is a look back at how things began the previous evening "Stiletto's turning heads feeling pretty", "Ladies night 3 for 5 looking for a good time" however there is still time to put down someone she met along the way, for whom she "Didn't need the rounds to forget your name!".
It's a gently tune unlikely to offend anyone with a banging head and conveys the realism that most of us at one time or anther have experienced. It makes for a great little package and Mallory's open, honest yet playful take on songwriting should server her well in the future.
It all follows on from her hugely enjoyable debut EP more a tribute to her performing skills perhaps than her songwriting, ( as she is only credited with one of the tunes) this is nonetheless well worth investigating and displays more of Mallory's vocal talents.
The opening track "El Camino" shows Mallory fronting a rocking pop combo as she relays the tale of a bad boy unable to be tamed, who is "As wild as the weather".
The second track "Tupelo" is how she announced herself to the world back in 2015 - and is as bright and breezy a road song down the Interstate as you could hope for as you put your "2 bare feet up on the dashboard"
"Run" is the best demonstration of Mallory's ballad skills, a gentle tune with an upfront shuffling drum beat, great keys and pedal steel over which Mallory lays down her most concentrated exquisite vocal of the EP.
In contrast "Good Mistake To Make" is a another little rocker which Mallory effortlessly fronts, "If I'm gonna get burned I'm gonna go down in flames" while "The Good Guy" bemoans her choice in men, it features some snappily delivered vocals and shows Mallory equally at ease in the world of pop country.
If there's one criticism of this fine EP it is that we don't really get to hear enough of Mallory's writing talents until the end, in the country classic sounding "What Bunnies Can Do". It displays just that little extra bit of wit and cheekiness that is missing from the earlier tracks "I wear my bikini to go for a swim but not while I'm the mall!" is just one of the many quotable lines and believe me there are many that will bring a smile your face.
All in all the EP is a great introduction to Mallory Johnson but that was just the beginning undoubtedly the best is yet to come!!