Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist MD McNally returns with a down-to-earth batch of warm tunes.
Besides the soaring guitar riffs and his old-school-style delivery of Crimes, McNally establishes himself as a profoundly personal songwriter. Inspired in his youth by “songs of Irish rebellion” and his “older siblings’ ’80s pop mixtapes,” McNally’s roots are all-American, but his sounds are universal. He feels his catalog “sticks to the ribs,” and is devoted to striking a meaningful chord in his listeners.
The EP, produced with the help of recording and mix engineer Ian Olvera (Lucinda Williams, Trapper Schoepp) smolders with tales of heartbreak and abandoned love, especially in its opening title track. He closes the song with a determined declaration to a lost flame: “I played your fool for the last time / I won’t be party to your crimes.” Lines like these portray McNally as vulnerable, while still resilient in his convictions.
McNally delves deeper into his emotional state throughout the EP, utilizing nature-oriented imagery as metaphors for his feelings. Crimes‘ final track, “East to West,” is the most potent example of this, lamenting “There’s a time for your faith in the mines of desire / Locked in your heart under cover of moss / And the far-reaching trains of your thoughts never tire / Strained east to west like the sign of the cross.” This multi-layered rhyme scheme speaks to McNally’s talent for mixing melody and melancholy in his songwriting.
Amongst the “soaring folk [that] nestles up alongside choogling big-sky blues and mesquite-smoked ballads,” MD McNally delivers perhaps his most fully realized project to date. On the evolution between this and his previous EP, “I don’t recall having any kind of a breakthrough” McNally laughs, “but I definitely felt more confident when I performed during the recording sessions.”
“I don’t think anyone would consider The Marvelous an experimental record”, continues McNally, “ but it was an experiment to me. For Crimes, I found some freedom knowing ahead of time how something I put in might sound coming out.”
“Crimes” is available now on major streaming platforms like Spotify Apple Music, and Bandcamp.
Cameron Landry is a former journalism student at The George Washington University, and a current writer for Alchemical Records. He’s shared a passion for music journalism for several years, and focused much of his reporting as an undergraduate on how independent music venues have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Based in Washington, DC, Cameron can often be found at local concerts (and record stores!) in the district.
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