Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., June 28, 2013
Being an effective songwriter takes awareness, something local genre-bender Danny Malone demonstrates in droves. With his second LP Balloons, Malone flouts linear storytelling in favor of dreamlike recounts of love and loss. Cut over 10 days in Denmark's Engelsholm Castle, Balloons calls on atypical instrumentation like handclaps and piano-lid slams in lieu of a drum kit. Despite this, the album never sounds stark. Malone's guitar picking and vocal flourishes swell to fill the gaps, dressing up the simplicity of "Wait on Me" and the sinister "Spiderlegs." In Balloons' 11 tracks, Malone acts as an alchemist, spinning transparent elements into a colorful tapestry as opulent as it is cryptic. The effervescent "Sugar Water" gives the tongue-in-cheek assurance "nothing is wrong," which is met by a sarcastic but infectious bop-shoo-wop refrain, while making grim light of a hypochondriac-fooling therapist. The album begs for unpacking, but Malone won't let you get that close just yet.