[Looking For Trouble; 2022]
It’s understandable to do a double take reading that Jordon Alexander, aka Enter the mall, only now released his first album. The Australian international party star has consistently released rousing lo-fi house singles and EPs that have lit up dance floors and created consistently sold-out crowds over the past six years.
It was in 2016 that Alexander became so in demand that he transplanted his talents to London, where he played shows and integrated the multiple auditory cues into his sound with consistently pleasing results. It’s ultimately behind the turntables that it really shines, but its sound production has also proven to be brilliant and enduring.
However, three or four songs on an EP does not constitute a complete album, especially in this difficult terrain, where an hour of tech-house or downtempo is usually reserved for singles, and the rest is ‘put to pasture’ where it can properly fade in the dark. However, Mall Grab was good enough to be signed to 1080p, and its release wouldn’t be out of place on labels like Lobster Theremin and Giegling. Does all of that translate to the tools needed to turn his first album into a piece of resistance?
Alexander himself indicated that in what i breathe, “Emotional yet harsh and driving club music elements are intertwined with house, jungle, rave and grime.” That sounds like a lot, but given dance music’s nearly universal penchant for drum ‘n bass, jungle, garage, and rave, it’s no surprise. When done correctly, as on, say, the now classic Daniel Avery Drone logicit can be downright inspiring.
But drone logic, unfortunately, this album is not. Looking at the album cover, there are several clues and indicators of what can be found when giving its contents a spin. The clumsy group of golden retrievers reminds us that there’s always the possibility of having too much of a good thing.
Whereas before, Alexander approached his voice in the tradition of chopped and screwed hip-hop, but now his choices here are much more scattered, with much of the old nuance that made his sound appealing, but eradicated. It kind of makes you wish these dogs were still puppies; that bigger is definitely not always better, and no matter how hard you try, you’re just not going to get all those pesky dogs staring at the camera at once.
This cluttered approach doesn’t stop at vocals, either. On tracks like “Metaphysical”, Alexander combines an aggressive vocal loop and rumbling bass sounds over an uninspired Amen break. There are tracks like “I Can Remember it So Vividly” that evoke the 90s rave scene, but the raucous production reminds the listener that Alexander has been in his adopted “homeland” for far less time than It doesn’t take much to make a success of this type of song. with this type of title.
Opener, “Hand in Hand Through Wonderland” is one of many tracks on the album that offers satisfying glimpses of what could be, with a wistful, atmospheric bent that’s abandoned and mostly left at the bottom of its long list of songs. London inspirations. Tracks like “Love Reigns” feature brilliant house-influenced pianos, and several later songs feature live vocals from talents like D Double E, Novelist, Nia Archives, and Turnstile’s Brendan Yates. It’s all in service of displaying Alexander’s genetic code as a London producer who “just had to be there”, but just wasn’t.
And so, Mall Grab’s debut album is decidedly too busy and scattered to be anything but a disappointment for most fans. He would do well to spend time cutting back on his big venue, his major label, and focusing on what has built him such a devoted fan base. It’s not a crime to own half a dozen golden retrievers, but it might be a bit too much to always swipe your tongue in your face when all you were really looking for was just one. simple tender hug.