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Shaun Malloch - Single Review: Been Long

06 Jul 2023 // A review by Tom Langdale-Hunt

Two years after the release of his self-produced debut Take What You Can, Shaun Malloch returns with the cruisy, indie-pop track Been Long. Aptly named, the song presents itself as a laid-back salutation as Shaun re-enters the airwaves; ardour that says “hey, how have you been? I’ve just been chillin’. Wanna hear a new song?” rather than an explosive statement. This warm energy radiates through the track, and it entices all to respond with a similar welcome and an open mind.

Leaning into the alt-country undertones, the piece begins with a literal sliding guitar line that immediately serves to highlight just how unobtrusive this track actually is. In a simple, lo-fi assembly of drums, bass, a couple of guitars, and a mellotron-y synth, Shaun re-emerges and croons the line, “It seems such a long time since I saw your face”, as if to acknowledge any recent distance. I’m drawn into the simplicity of the lyrics and the clean, sparse production, co-helmed by Thomas Isbister.

There are little-to-no effects added, allowing the song to lay bare. The rhythm guitar keeps a percussive line throughout the track, strengthening a chilled-out momentum. Simple, yet engaging solo lines backed with oscillating feedback are about as ‘extravagant’ as it gets. I struggle to imagine a setting where this song would not be welcome to be played. It is soothing in its ease, and while one might be hard-pressed to find any repetition of parts within the song, it still exists in an aura of simplicity and is anything but demanding. Simply put, I could listen intently without disinterest, as well as have it play in the background virtually anywhere.

Lyrics like “You and I, we only get ten minutes of conversation a week” ruminate on just how finite our time is, and seems to reflect on the regret that one might feel when it isn’t spent earnestly; quite relatable for anyone concerned with how we spend our most valuable commodity. This may be unintentional and I may be completely missing the mark, but that’s my take, anyway, and the mellow nature of the song invites me to be reflective.

Been Long marks a satisfying return from the Otautahi musician. It’s a track that makes me hope that the next time we hear from him will not be so distant in the future, but these are manic times, especially for local artists, and the consolation of this single is that time is not so sparse, so make sure to enjoy the efforts when they can be divvied, even if it’s only ten minutes a week.


About Shaun Malloch

Otautahi lo-fi crooner, Shaun Malloch, creates music in the world of indie-pop, with alt-country undertones and an eclectic production style.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shaun Malloch


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