Mark Mallman Works Through Heartache on Catchy New LP, 'Double Silhouette'

Photo by Wilson Webb

When Mark Mallman isn’t busy engaging in 78-hour public sing-a-thons — by himself — as part of a series of what he calls “Marathon” events, the Minneapolis singer and songwriter  writes catchy pop songs. His latest album, “Double Silhouette” (Eagle’s Golden Tooth Recordings), is a collection of sad, rueful and deeply personal break-up songs that Mallman frames with deceptively peppy piano arrangements and deft references to pop culture.

Although he’s often wry, he’s also unflinching, sifting through cherished memories on the jittery “Like a Car Crash” and seeking solace in booze and meaningless hook-ups on “Slow the Guillotine,” a mournful number that puts Mallman’s vocals right up front in the mix. He examines his own motives and tries without success to figure out what went wrong on “So Much for Hollywood Endings,” and brings up the movies again over rolling piano on the title track when he sings, “I’ve been hiding out in ‘Casablanca’/ where everything is black and white.”  Yeah, not so much in real life.

For all Mallman’s self-flagellation, though, “Double Silhouette” is never a bummer to listen to. Quite the opposite, in fact: he’s at once witty and sincere, his hooky melodies are insistently inviting and, despite the bruises his break up seems to have left on his heart, he never slides into self-pity. Mallman even offers an olive branch on the juiced-up guitar rocker “Dirty Dishes,” singing, “I wish you the best and I wish you luck and I wish it were easier on both of us.”

— Eric R. Danton



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