by A. Scott Galloway – Music Editor – Urban Network
Singer/Poetess Carolyn’s Malachi’s Lions, Fires & Squares is an affirmative and arresting answer to the ever-present debate, “Is there anything fresh about in Black pop?” The Maryland-based artist’s 6-track EP (4 songs and 2 remixes) – an urgent offering inspired by recent sojourns to South Africa that follows two full length CDs - opens upon a fever dream high that drops you back to Earth on an African plain as a lioness licking her chops…a lioness ready to take a bite out of life but not before making a sizable contribution to the creativity universe. How else do you explain a dreamy song about a mermaid mooning over a space cowboy over gurgling galactical bass and synths (“Orion”) followed by a brass-spiked techno-strut about heavy flirting via texting (“Textual” featuring rapper HHP). The clincher is the meditative Black girl and her sisters in spirit rumination “Dumela,” a soothing and rejuvenating piece layered over hand drums, bass and sublime guitars that would make a perfect seque into Sade’s recent offering “In Another Time.” James McKinney’s production throughout brings a savvy, classically-trained, pan-cultural brew to techno – like what Wally Badarou might be doing in pop now. As for Ms. Malachi, she represents a warm yet challenging new presence – one not to be underestimated or denied. She is as thoughtful with the pen – in song and rap forms - as with the arrangements she conjures for the layers of her voice to spell-cast. Carolyn Malachi’s got bold soul sister strength and culture in her grasp, and both the Earth and skies on lock. And the tight EP format insures she has given you just enough of a taste to leave you anticipating what’s next for her…though there is plenty to digest right here.