Mal McCallum: Above the Wires
By Tim Page
First impression from track one was that I was listening to new material from James Taylor - the arrangement, guitar work and vocals being distinctly Taylor-esque. But it would be unfair to label Mal McCallum a copyist for that alone as the following tracks show enough variety to prove he is indeed his own man. Recorded at several Auckland studios and mastered at 301 in Sydney, the recording quality is flawless. McCallum handles composition and multiple instrument duties, augmented primarily by Pat Kuhtze on drums and Dan Antonovich on bass, along with a host of others, while the producerís hat is shared with Guy Gray. McCallum has a rich, mature voice, carrying the songs with warmth and clarity. As far as style goes, this is classic singer/songwriter fare - much of which would stand up well in a live setting with a minimalist band, which I see as the mark of a good song. Overall the songs are well crafted and thoughtful, with enough quirkiness to keep them interesting. A rewarding album.