Malojian @ The Harbour Bar Bray - 21st February 2016

Lurgan based singer songwriter Steven Scullion, under the guise of Malojian, ended his whistle stop and sold out Irish tour with a show at The Harbour Bar in Bray before heading to the States later in the week to begin recording his next album with renowned engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies, P.J.Harvey, The Stooges, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page).

It hasn’t been overnight success for Scullion who has been assiduously writing music and performing for over a decade and a half. Formerly working as a duo in the band Cat Malojian, the rebranded Malojian feature singer songwriter Scullion on lead vocal and guitar together  with Joe Mc Gurgan on bass and Michael Mormecha on drums, also doubling up superbly on guitar. What particularly works for them are the stunning harmonies that embellish much of his material. His 2015 album Southlands, which followed the 2012 debut album The Deer’s Cry, was released to considerable  critical acclaim gaining plaudits from Bob Harris, Cerys Matthews with Scullion being described as ‘’the North’s best songwriter over the last half decade’’ in Hot Press Magazine. It speaks volumes as to the trajectory in Scullions career that his current mini tour resulted in full houses at Cork, Waterford and Kilkenny. Such was the demand for tickets in Kilkenny that an additional matinee show was scheduled with free admission for under eighteens.

So is all the fanfare justified? It certainly is based on tonight’s offering. Difficult to slot into any obvious genre, the two cover numbers included in the set this evening, Neil Young’s Out On The Weekend and The Beatles A Day In The Life, probably best describes where they are coming from, slotting in somewhere between those two artists, laid back late 60’s vibe, very catchy, well written and radio friendly material.

Scullion introduces the immediately fetching Communion Girls as his childhood fantasy of winning the hearts of the local girls with some Bruce Lee shapes and moves. Rich ballads including It Ain’t Easy and What Am I Worthfollow in a set which is essentially drawn from his recent album while also visiting material from his debut album.

Bath Tub Blues, written we are told by Scullion to entertain his eldest daughter, is simple, tuneful and works.Broke is beautifully delivered even though at under two minutes begs for an additional verse. In contrast is the more upbeat No Alibis driven by a drum beat that explores the British beat boom of the late 1960’s.

There is little doubt witnessing Malojian this evening that given the right breaks they have the potential to move to a level considerably higher than where they are pitched at present. Malojian are the opening act at The Kilkenny Roots Festival appearing at Billy Byrnes on Friday 29th April. Highly recommended but book early as the show will without doubt sell out.

Review and picture by Declan Culliton