Baltimore, Maryland-based indie-pop/folk musician Joseph Mulhollen recently released a full-length album, Problematical Animals, through record label Scenic Route Records. Mulhollen, who has been performing solo and in bands for more than ten years, is no stranger to the indie music scene, and Problematical Animals proves his mettle and experience in the industry.
Problematical Animals is full of melodic, unique layers of sound and rhythm, perfectly blending pop, folk, and even some psychedelic and technological influences. The track “Garbage,” which mixes folk with a sort of ’80s style psychedelic sound with basic folk rhythms, is available for free download through Scenic Route Records.
The 1980s comparison isn’t a new one for Mulhollen, whose unique textures have been seen as a throwback to the best of that decade, combined with a voice that ranges from soaring and indubitable confidence to a more vulnerable, complex lack of self-assurance.
The vocals on Problematical Animals alone are both soaring and haunting, and Mulhollen blends his conversational folk-style with a deliberate pace to create a memorable and almost spooky sound. It’s unforgettable, as the complex melodies and thoughtful lyrics make you feel as though you’re a part of a private, underground performance rather than listening to an album.
Problematical Animals, its title taken from one of Mulhollen’s archaeology classes in college, is a story in and of itself, with each track representing a different animal, its conflicts, and its motives for existence. In existence, each track blends in Mulhollen’s own life, and draws connections to the people he has affected, and the connections he has made throughout his career and life.
From “Back to the Cave,” to the final track on the album, “I Have Seen The Mountains,” Mulhollen blends his love of storytelling with these haunting sounds, and uses his experience smartly. Problematical Animals is, top to bottom, his most significant musical contribution to date, which says quite a bit for a man who has toured with Andrew Bird, The Butchies, Melissa Ferrick, Edie Carey, and other folk and indie-pop mainstays in the past.
Mulhollen will tour in support of Problematical Animals, and bring his unique and quirky sense of style and rhythm from Baltimore to the rest of the country. He’ll surely find a home, too, as he expands from the Baltimore music and night club scene to a wider audience this year.
Problematical Animals is available for digital download from Scenic Route Records through this link, as well as through Sound Cloud here. Additionally, the track “Garbage” is a free download off the album for those wanting more information.