Be Honest is one of two inaugural releases on the new Irish label, Fallow Field. Ian Maleney started the label recently after putting the knife to his previous effort, Quarter Inch Collective, after a stellar run of releases. This new label already seems like the next successive step in the right direction and will certainly be one to watch.
I first met Ian through twitter, I think (isn’t that always the way these days? Christ…), and have become a massive fan of his various writing exploits across the web. Full-disclosure, he interviewed me last year about Digitalis and the then-new Concessionaires LP, but his Hatred of Music column for Totally Dublin is a regular highlight. Enough of all that, though, and into this Be Honest, Maleney’s new solo moniker, tape for a minute. Tea, Sugar, Soda, Soap is the project’s debut.
Maleney puts forth two sprawling discourses based around protracted guitar and synthesizer explorations with a side of field recordings from the Irish bog. This is not an original setup or concoction by any means, yet he’s able to breathe new air into the premise’s bloated corpse. This is music teeming with life and all that goes with it; the promise of new mornings echo in the static progressions, guitars chiming above like distant revelers following ancient paths to distant lands. Everything on “Tea, Sugar” sings. Heartbreak goes hand-in-hand with redemption. Longing is only really felt beneath the weight of absence. Maleney weaves a connective golden thread through all of it, like a wizard spinning magic.
What really pushes Tea, Sugar, Soda, Soap over the top, though, is the corresponding opposites roaring like a blast furnace on “Soda, Soap.” A gentle hand is replaced by a cracking whip so that every note, every harsh tone stings just a little bit more than it should. These drones slump toward the finishing line echoing memories long after the moment has been destroyed. The dichotomy of these two sides is something that can’t be ignored.
Pick up one of the remaining copies of the tape HERE.