Sometimes the most beautiful works of art rise from the ashes of pain and suffering. So is the case with Malcom Lacey’s hypnotic, masterful songwriting. Hiding under the moniker “Arrange,” the young bedroom producer released his debut LP, Plantation, last year, followed by this year’s Five Years With The Sun EP and the recently released follow-up, New Memory.
Without knowing Lacey’s story, his songs sound like typical break-up tunes, but after closer inspection (and with the help of previous interviews), it’s clear that the Florida native dealt with much more than a broken heart inflicted by a failed courtship. His glowering lyrics arose from an abusive childhood and his relationship with his incarcerated father. As a child, Lacey played the piano and began tinkering with other instruments in his adolescence. The result became beautiful bedroom recordings that incorporate the majesty of the piano with ambient production and Lacey’s powerful lyrics.
In albums past, Arrange has been an outlet for Lacey to purge his emotions, and with New Memory that theme is still prevalent. However, as the title suggests, this record seems to be a turning point for the troubled musician. He recently moved from Florida to Portland, Oregon, and it seems as though he’s trying to find solace in his new life. Underneath the ethereal beauty of his precisely produced instrumentation lies a hurt that has stuck with him over the years. “Mother, I’d like to speak with you today,” he laments during “Where I Go At Night.” He continues to sing, “I’ve been searching for years, and all I’ve got to hear you say is how you hurt so much, and that you blame yourself, but I hurt some too, and I know that you need help. If I could take it all, if I could lift your burden off of you, I would.” But he can’t, and he knows this. After this short lyrical clause, Lacey’s vocals cut out and we are left with droning electronics and an uplifting keyboard solo.
His transition shines on the record’s closer, which is its title track. Instead of singing, the lyrics are more spoken word. It is both poetic and heart wrenching as Lacey speaks of starting anew. “I feel sometimes that I can grab it, past my own insecurities and rage, to forgive what I’ve done, what the people I love have done,” he confesses. Later, he continues, “I can’t create a new person, but I can create new memories…I do have the force and the strength to move on.” After his realization, his voice cuts out, and the second half of the song is an instrumental arrangement of ambient, static sounds, which fade into drone before the song fades out completely.
Despite the darkness that encompasses this album, it is stunning. The tracks flow into each other so seamlessly that it is hard to distinguish when one ends and the other begins. And though it is atmospheric, every note has a purpose. With such brilliance under his belt, it will be exciting to see where Lacey’s journey takes him next.Like us on Facebook BestNewBands.com and Follow us on Twitter @bestnewbandscom