A brief snippet of an interview with Musiqtone says a lot about Malone’s state of mind:
LL: Do you have any fun memories or stories to share about any performances?
DM: No. I blackout before I play , like Beyoncé. Have you ever- Wait, didn’t she say that recently?
LL: Umm, I have no idea! I’ve never heard her say that before…
DM: There’s discussion that she’s involved with Satan and someone said, I think she said that she blacks out when she performs, and I just relate with that. And I do that…and that’s it! Wait, what was the question again?
This new disc was recorded in at Engelsholm Castle, a haunted castle in Denmark where Malone had been inspired to write a number of the songs on Balloons after attending a writers workshop at the castle the previous year. Returning to Engelsholm Castle, Malone and producer Matthew Smith recorded all 10 songs in 10 days, each in a different room of the castle, utilizing sounds that they found or created – such as slamming a piano lid shut, hitting a pool cue against a wall, and stomping the floor – for all the drum sounds. Malone said: “I only remember bits and pieces of recording each song because it feels like one big dream or something. It was great. It was like going to another world. Completely like another dimension to record it, and then coming back to reality to put it out.” (from the same Musiqtone interview).
The songs range from the darkly erotic “spiderlegs” (video below), which leads in with delicately picked guitar notes which build to electronic beats that wash over Malone’s vocals. This is followed by the shimmery and upbeat tune “sugarwater” which brings multi-part vocal harmonies to the forefront and features a “bop-shu-wop” sing-along chorus that hides that this is a tale about hypochondria. This is followed by “whitewhitelight”, which is a hazy psychedelic number that would float away if it weren’t anchored down by a shuffling percussive beat.
Live reviews have cited Malone as an extremely compelling live performer but, as he doesn’t have any tour dates currently posted to his website, those outside of Austin may be out of luck.