# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down

  by Adrian Janes

published: 13 / 6 / 2013

Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down
Label: Leaf Label
Format: CD


Flawed but highly promising debut album from jazz, funk and African-influenced London sextet, Melt Yourself Down

Any band with the good taste to name themselves after a James Chance song must be worth a listen. The historical influences Melt Yourself Down acknowledge include not only Chance’s ‘New York ’78’ but also ‘Cairo ’57’ and ‘Cologne ’72’. The jazz, funk and African blend this suggests is indeed what Melt Yourself Down appear to be going for on this album, with varying degrees of success. The sound is dominated by the saxophones of Pete Wareham and Shabaka Hutchings, with bassist Ruth Goller’s expressive playing also often prominent, Tom Skinner’s drumming solid yet flexible, and Satin Singh adding a clattering percussive edge . Initial tracks ‘Fix My Life’ and ‘Release’ are based around repetitive phrases and rather formless sax, although even on these the musicianship does not lack for skill or energy. ‘Tuna’ is the first song as such, and it provides much of the sense of direction lacking on the previous tracks. Excitable vocals from Kushal Gaya, Skinner’s slick drumming and a shrieking sax climax combine to make for something both danceable and listenable. All that lets it down (and this criticism applies to a number of other tracks as well) are the electronic blurts contributed by producer Leafcutter John, the kind of amusical bleeping and whistling a 10 year-old Eno might have come up with. The promise previously hinted at is, however, gloriously realised on ‘We Are Enough’. It was once said of James Chance that he “punked the funk” : here, uptempo rhythm and exuberant, intertwined saxes, like a classic James Brown groove at twice the normal pace, realise this description in the here and now. The vocals are also at their punkiest: the yelled refrain, “I say we are enough!” can be interpreted several ways, but it can easily be pictured as a rallying cry for the disaffected. This just needs some astute DJ to play it to death to create a new dancefloor anthem. ‘Kingdom of Kush’ is appropriately African with its bright saxophones, brisk and insistent rhythm and bass runs. Gaya’s vocals are full of a soul shouter’s raw yelps and cries, while snare crashes add a dub-like touch. ‘Free Walk’ has beautifully muted, lonely saxophone, supported once again by well-judged bass and percussion work; if not for an irritating and inexplicable scratchy sound effect that intermittently runs from speaker to speaker, it would be just about perfect. ‘Mouth to Mouth’ begins with a mournful foghorn-like drone before breaking into tribal-style drumming and strong singing (in French, or possibly Creole) from Gaya. A slower middle passage makes for the album’s most dramatic moment, with funky brass, low bass notes and a broken rhythm before returning to tribal drumming and chanting. The closing track, ‘Camel’, has a vaguely Middle Eastern theme interspersed with chants of “Hey!” like an Arabic version of Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock and Roll Part Two’ and is generally rather repetitive, in the manner of the opening tracks. As if bored themselves, the band break into a high energy rock-out for a spell before returning to the original theme. I can imagine much of this material going down well live. The band are adept musicians, and the singing is strong. But things that might set a crowd alight (such as energy and repetition) don’t necessarily make for great listening. Yet there are songs and passages here where all of MYD’s strong points come together. Whether they have a great album in them remains to be heard, but for now they are certainly a band to be seen.

Track Listing:-
1 Fix My Life
2 Release!
3 Tuna
4 We Are Enough
5 Kingdom of Kush
6 Free Walk
7 Mouth to Mouth
8 Camel

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Fix My Life (2013)
Fascinating combination of jazz, soul and blues on 12 inch vinyl single from Arabian-influenced but London-based sextet, Melt Yourself Down

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