Album Review: Mall’d to Death – “Can’t Make A Living”

Album Review: Mall’d to Death – “Can’t Make A Living”

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To be honest, I had never heard of Mall’d to Death before picking up their CD at an Off With Their Heads show from In Defence’s merch table. But from what I gather they’re one of the newest additions to the crowded list of formidable Minneapolis pop-punk bands.

Although they don’t sound all that unlike Dillinger Four or Banner Pilot, the twist comes in their “econopunk” style according to their Myspace. I guess by econopunk they mean that everything is short and efficient, from their songs to their CD as a whole. You could blink and miss a whole tribute to Lance Hahn (RIP) on the 58-second “The Hymns of J Church” or the ode to making use of junk that people throw out on the 59-second “Live in a Dumpster Dive.”

A lot of the songs almost seem like pop-punk meets hardcore, which makes sense when you consider the band’s members have played both for pop-punk bands as well as hardcore bands. Some of the songs don’t even have choruses, which is unusual for pop-punk but fairly normal for hardcore. “Young Man on a Downloading Spree” has really gravelly hardcore vocals while it humorously lists off a bunch of 80’s hardcore acronyms like SOA, DYS, DRI, TSOL, and such. Sometimes the songs seem like they would be funny from the titles but end up rather serious. “Bomb the Defense Industry!” (obviously a reference to Bomb the Music Industry!) ponders war profiteering as an option to make end’s meet and references the album’s title: “I can’t make a living if I’m making a killing.” On somewhat of a similar note, the singer contemplates selling plasma to pay bills on “Blood For Gas Money” shouting “It’s not the saline causing pain/But all the thoughts inside my brain/That there’s not more to life than this/Lying down and clenching fists.”

The only real bad thing about this CD is how short it is. But it’s short and sweet and it will leave you coming back for more.

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