Album review: MALIBOOZ – QE2


Red Steel Music [Release date 30.10.20]

Malibooz is John Zambetti and Walter Egan. Their individual and collective pedigrees are incontestable. Their songs have been used multiple times in movies, including “Catch Me If You Can” and “I Robot”. The music they have written and recorded since the band’s inception in 1964 would fill the QE2. Which, funnily enough, is the title of their new album.

It is the follow up to “Queen’s English” (2010). Walter was born in Queens, New York. Again they show their love and admiration of the sound of the “Sixties Invasion”, and how it affected US popular music, which in their youth, they witnessed first hand. They’ve even got Pete (Hermans Hermits) Noone guesting, and a cover of The Beatles’ worldwide hit single, ‘We Can Work It Out’ is the album’s bonus track.

The other 14 tracks are originals.

There are so many reference points and connections, deliberate or otherwise. The rarified atmosphere of Laurel Canyon in the sixties (and seventies) is all pervasive. Opener ‘Resist’s Byrdsian raga rock, chiming guitars, and Crosby/McGuinn harmonies, smooth out on ‘Heaven’ into the meticulously crafted, breathy soft rock of the Eagles. ‘Ordinary Smile’ segues seamlessly into the majestic country rock of Jackson Browne. ‘Heal A Broken Heart’ owes more than (half) a song title to the Bee Gees.

And so on.

What we’re hearing is not necessarily pastiche, but a reflection of the mood and the sounds originally created by the “British Invasion’, the brittle harmonies, the cascading choruses that sprung from nowhere, the 2 or 3 minute epics of sonic brilliance. All of the above.

Yes, there are plenty of “soundalikes” to reference. But we should be clear, Malibooz have their own voice. Distinct and distinctive. If their interpretation of their own material creates ripples of nostalgia among an older audience, and perhaps curiosity among a younger one, then Egan and Zambetti will have done their job. ****

Review by Brian McGowan

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