Mark Mulcahy – The Possum in the Driveway
First, some context: Mark Mulcahy is formerly of recently reformed REM-contemporaries Miracle Legion and also Polaris, and responsible for four solo albums of unadulterated loveliness. You need this context to understand how much it hurts us to say: his latest album, The Possum in the Driveway, doesn’t quite deliver on all fronts.
Much of The Possum... feels like an echo of earlier, better work. 'Every day ends the same / Melancholically pained,' Mulcahy sings on 30 Days Away and it feels like part of the problem. Did he write these songs while world touring with Miracle Legion? Was his heart not in it? 'Well, hello hello hello hello again,' he sings on I Am the Number 13, 'what are you doing here?' He’s subdued, his playfulness more acid, his arrangements a little more Lyle Lovett than we’d like.
That isn’t to say that there are not highlights: Catching Mice (a song about a mental ward of all things) is a flotsam piece of wonder, Conflicted Interests looks up from the gutter at the stars (with its plaintive call, 'It’s the day, it’s the day, that you say that you’ll make a fresh start') and the blinding slice of sunshine that is Jimmy towards the album’s close are all terrific. But, despite repeated plays (we worked on the principle that this was a grower and played it, played it and played it), The Possum in the Driveway remains a disappointment. Gutting.
Listen to: Catching Mice, Conflicted Interests, Jimmy