Zenith Beast (label)
20 March 2012 (released)
14 April 2012
The ‘90s is known for its grunge music. However, you’d never know it after listening to the short-lived indie pop quartet, Malcontent. This group was only around from 1994-1995. Therefore it barely got started before contentment turned to malcontent-ment.
Its leader was Larry O. Dean, who put this foursome together after his other band, the Fussbudgets, also broke up. This album features Dean on guitar, piano and vocals. He’s joined by Ned Doherty on bass and vocals, Tony Maxwell on lead guitar and vocals, Sheila Schat adding cello, violin and viola and Christine Wall providing backing vocals.
Embarrassment of Riches is a short EP of just four songs, with one track (“Ten Best”) featured with two different mixes. The songs sound closer to ‘60s rock songs than anything associated with the gut-busting ‘90s rock scene. Maxwell’s electric guitar lines have a touch of British Invasion pop-rock feel too them. Dean sings is a sort of flat, emotionless tone. He sounds weary most the time. It’s as though he recorded these sad tunes at the end of the day, just to get these feelings off his chest.
Malcontent, then, is a perfect name for this act. Dean is at his down-est during “Perversity,” which also puts Schat’s string section work to good use. While Dean comes off disgusted, he doesn’t ever sound like he’s whining too much. Instead, the listener can well put themselves into his shoes. Therefore, he sounds like a reasonable man, with reasonable complaints.
One has to wonder why this music is being reissued now. In a time when music can’t seem to get on the radio unless some big name dubstep artist is also attached to it, it doesn’t seem like Malcontent has much of a chance. Even so, if you’re disgusted with the state of the world, you may want to pick up this disc and become an honorary malcontent. After all, misery loves company.