George Mallas Releases Junior Album
Based out of the northeastern United States, singer/songwriter George Mallas’ third collection of songs Let the Day Decide sparkles from the first song to the last. Few releases exhibit such outright enthusiasm and positive energy. Mallas’ songwriting eye turns occasionally towards the melancholy but, even then, the accompanying music has such redemptive power that the effect is ultimately positive.
These aren’t songs viewing the world through the proverbial rose-colored glasses. Many of them demand repeated listens as it takes at least a couple of passes before you grasp everything Mallas is sharing with listeners. “Shine” functions as simply a great song but, likewise, as a sort of primer for newcomers not just for the album but Mallas’ overall aesthetic. He makes the right decision opening the album with an up-tempo number and it checks off all the necessary boxes without ever feeling like its rushed.
“Your Name” is a retrospective track, but Mallas grounds it with such specific details that the reflective point of view doesn’t deny the song’s immediacy. The point of view, however, shifts, and it’s soon apparent that Mallas is viewing the song through a wider lens than you might initially expect. It does have a couple of small points of overexaggerated theatricality, but they are far from fatal. The album’s third song “History” is a heartbreaking duet about the end of a relationship and deserves nothing but kudos. You can’t help but be impressed, if you’re an older music fan, to have the song’s payoff line be so predictable, yet so effective. Strings are an especially fitting touch for Mallas’ songs.
The percussive bounce of Mallas’ piano and the drums during “Chasing Rainbows” give it a light hop that would keep you listening even if nothing else could. The arrangement’s steadily simmering energy never quite explodes, and the percolating tension gives the track surprising impetus. He excels once again with a different kind of duet during “Don’t Walk Away (Dragon Song)” that focuses on piano and mandolin instead of voices. The two instruments achieve and maintain a delicate interplay that accentuates the song’s sensitivities. Many listeners will enjoy his deliberate, almost child-like, vocal melody.
The plaintive heartfelt lyrics of “My Beliefs My Prayer” will find sympathy even with the rootless and faithless. You can’t help but admire Mallas’ work for its undoubtedly hard-won clarity and emotion though, at some points, it can come off a bit too mannered for its own good. This is, however, an undoubtedly affecting and earnest song with strong melodic value. The minimalist musicality dominating the album’s second half concludes it as well.
“Let the Day Decide” makes a substantive statement, particularly lyrically, and he never overextends himself. He deserves a final round of praise for never coming off as self-indulgent in any of these songs; even the title cut clocks in at a reasonable length. It’s clear evidence of his songwriting craftsmanship and far from the only proof for it. George Mallas’ Let the Day Decide isn’t a perfect album, but it’s unquestionably meaningful, often entertaining, and has individuality in an increasingly cookie-cutter world.