Melt Yourself Down’s second full-length, Last Evenings on Earth, is about as damn close to a masterpiece as you can get. That’s a hefty first sentence to level in a review, but no matter how many times I listen to the recording I find it hard to come up with another word.
You can truly see a band at the height of both command and vision, merging sonics and aesthetics into something uniquely and officially theirs. Here, electronics and horns reside together in what ends up being a tapestry that is danceable and groovy, heady and cerebral. It is a perfect blend of body and head that will surely satisfy the punkers and the jazzfreaks.
The band, on this album especially, takes the focused, driving and danceable beats of Fela Kuti and the meandering mystic spiritualism of Coltrane and Sun Ra, but without losing touch with The Now. One can easily detect electronic bass and the computer-perfect mechanical treble thunderclap-hits of snare and an array of electronic waxing and waning all over tracks not in disharmony at all with the acoustic drum hits and horn bleats. The Vocals are not distracting; they simply carry new and undiscovered melody lines that the horns cannot, or rather, provide interesting counter harmonies to the other instrumentation present.
The first track’s deceptively simple-yet-sturdy bass line oscillates up and down the fretboard, acting as both a catapult and sounding board for the rest of the track, freeing up the horns and electronics to travel the spaceways of the cosmos. From here, the album pleasurably navigates between outer space and our ruddy earth, bouncing and pulsing with acoustic drums and horns before hurling into the atmosphere with electronic manipulation.
Trying to come up with genre distinctions for an album this diverse is about as helpful as a bucket of water at a house fire (here are a few terrible attempts: Mystic- Jazz Punk, Retro-Futurist Afro Beat, Electro-Free Jazz), make no mistake, what MYD are doing is what all important and relevant artists do: make incredibly relevant and contemporary music while not losing touch with the Pioneers. A few years ago elusive Swedish psych-rockers Goat gave an interview where they wager everyone plays ‘world music’ today:
“We think it would be strange for anyone to claim they didn’t play world music”.
So perhaps we could leave Melt Yourself Down and their stunning sophomore album at that; they are, undeniably, World Music and they are here to provide enough noise and melody for our flimsy and finite mortal shells.
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