maQLu takes no prisoners. Her third offering Malfeasance picks up right where 2012’s Futureghosts left off. Self-produced, engineered and mixed, this is over forty minutes of staring into an electro-industrial abyss with a masochistic grin.
Opener “Counterfeit” sets the tone; a venomous tongue beneath a wall of electronic fuzz makes it known that somebody has been caught, and that somebody is going to pay dearly. Space-age psychosis and paranoia set to abrasive feedback and distortion, a relentless and militant beat emphasises the lyrical tenacity. And it works beautifully.
A lot of ground is covered across nine tracks. From the haunted-carnival-ride organ sounds of “Lucky Paw,” the deep dubby groove of “Fur + Flesh,” the instrumental punk-funk of “Say My Name,” to the druggy machine rock of “I Like You Better When You’re High,” this is an eclectic mix of electronic styles held together by a menacing and foreboding atmosphere. Lyrics of obsession, revenge, and betrayal are delivered with detached malevolence, sometimes buried beneath the chaos, and sometimes harsh and abrasive.
Standout track, “Disco Disgorge” is seven-minutes of electronic dystopia. Its twisting and growling industrial synth makes way for a glitchy outro with a militant krautrock beat.
Nearing the end, a glimmer of redemption is offered with the narcotic vulnerability of “Sapphire” and the blissed-out dubby comedown of “Alabaster,” the Creep remix of the opening track from Futureghosts.
A punch in the face with a velvet glove, this is an uncompromising and very enjoyable journey to the centre of the head.