Monday, 12 August 2013

REVIEW: Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down (The Leaf Label)

The excellent self titled debut from Melt Yourself Down is quite unlike anything else you’re likely to set ears on this year, the work of a seven piece group whose combined previous experiences are as refreshingly diverse as its musical ingredients. It’s a wild fusion of sounds from across the world, spanning multiple cultures and genres to create a sound that truly needs to be heard to be understood. 

Some would lazily call it “world music”, but it’s essentially dance music with true value, demonstrating true musicianship and providing a far more interesting alternative to the current endless crop of unimaginative electronic acts who fail to provide quality with their dull digital sounds, and yes I am talking about that shit the kids call “EDM”. When I say it’s an “alternative” to modern dance music, what I really mean is that it’s on the other side of the spectrum in terms of accomplishment, and in a completely different league when it comes to producing something memorable. 

That’s not to say that MYD don’t embrace modern electro sounds, but they are used almost decoratively rather than providing a base for the sound. Opener ‘Fix My Life’ combines dirty, rasping saxophones with tough beats and zappy electronics, almost reminiscent of The JBs if they were produced by The Chemical Brothers, while the exhilarating ‘Release!’ is like a carnival procession passing through a rave, catching the listener with its relentless pulse. Top notch percussion plays a big part in the sound, as do the characteristic horns that blast out the repetitive yet irresistible hooks, with the steady, snaky eastern-flavoured groove of ‘Tuna’ bringing forward both elements brilliantly. In fact this is a set of songs where every individual instrument plays a vital role and where the composition of each track is often rather masterful indeed. The raucous, insanely catchy ‘We Are Enough’ sounds like one hell of a party, almost like some sort of raucous ska-punk, but with a greater supply of ideas.

If you don’t feel the urge to move during ‘Kingdom Of Kush’ then there’s probably something wrong with you. The level of energy and excitement here translates well on record, particularly during the first half. It is without a doubt one of the most enjoyably insane and refreshingly lively records I have discovered in a long time, but it also knows when to take things easy, as demonstrated by the peaceful beauty of ‘Free Walk’, a stunning moment buoyed by its lilting dub bassline and bright congas, where afrobeat and soul meet jazz and reggae. ‘Mouth To Mouth’’s almost hypnotic vibe leads into rhythms that gradually grow more and more intense, before finale ‘Camel’ builds up an ominous atmosphere and then brutally speeds out of control in a blitz of free-jazz punk madness. 

Eight tracks that are as addictive as they are inventive, this is a record that you should not ignore. Now you know it exists, seek it out and treat yourself to everything it has to offer. 4/5

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