The Irish Times - February 18, 2016
Malcolm Holcombe – Another Black Hole: dystopian but uplifting country soul
“The radio plays for the happy- go-lucky / That ain’t my set of wheels . . .” The years are not making Malcolm Holcombe’s outlook any sunnier.
Yet this craggy country soul songsmith defies his dystopian demeanour with a spirited, even uplifting, set that peels back his grim North Carolina childhood and fragments of what followed.
At their best, there is a colourful grittiness in Holcombe’s often opaque stories that, allied to sweet melody, creates a haunting synthesis.
His nicotine-scarred voice is no easy listen, but it adds drama and a sense of honesty.
Producers Ray Kennedy and Brian Brinkerhoff empathise with a warm, subtle soundscape that makes use of top-notch players such as Tony Joe White and fellow six-string shaper Jared Tyler.
Drea Merritt’s harmonies also shine. Tracks of note include Sweet Georgia, the title track and Papermill Man.