Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from one of our team’s favourites of the past 12 months. California-based MAL released their single, Madness As Lift on 23rd June, 2023. If you’re looking for the next predictable 3 chord song about trucks, then move on by: this isn’t for you. If, however, you’re looking for quality experimental musicianship that breaks all the rules, you are going to just love MAL.

MAL have repeatedly impressed us with their musicianship and writing. Not ones to stick to a genre, but nonetheless having a definite stand-out style all of their own, MAL are the Real Deal. Their 14-minute epic, Ritual, gripped us for the entirety of the track, and the four minutes of this latest track is a hypnotic stream-of-consciousness to delight anyone willing to open their minds.

Madness As Lift is an experimental prog-rock fan’s dream. Lyrically it is a reflection of the world we live in. With all of the darkness and lunacy, life is still what one makes of it. The band describe the track perfectly; “We as artists realize just how fine the line is between dedicating oneself to the fringe ideas of some cult or to the never-ending flow of music in our heads and bandmates.
Similarly, we choose to let the madness lift us.”

With dystopian polyrhythms and a 5/4 beat, we just loved this track’s psychedelic and eerie feel right from the start. It very easily portrays the workings of a creative mind, and you can almost imagine this song came together late at night during a period of insomnia.

The repeated vocal sounds of the single bass notes build into an explosive wall of sound with the guitar riff repeating and becoming heavier. You will find yourself slow-nodding and feeling just slightly uncomfortable, whilst delighting in the musicianship and creativity of MAL.

There are some true heavy rock moments with superb metal vocals, there are moments reminiscent of Pink Floyd. At times the track reminded us of the Beatles’ Indian-influenced era. You may even catch a hint of Soundgarden here and there too. Influences aside, MAL are unique, impressive and real stand-out artists in every sense of the word.

We love the bassist’s use of ghost notes, giving the impression of extra kick drum work, and the harmony vocals littered throughout the track are a real pleasure to listen to.

Madness As Lift feels like a track which would work superbly in the background of a dystopian movie, and we’d strongly urge the band to seek out opportunities.

Ideas from our ears

A boost around 60Hz could bring out the ghost notes being played on the bass guitar. A cut around 180-200Hz would also reduce a small excess of ‘thump’ on the snare. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.

Final thoughts

MAL are firm favourites of ours. This is intelligent, experimental prog/art rock at its absolute best. A class act.