Melt Yourself Down – Melt Yourself Down (2013)
Melt Yourself Down are not Acoustic Ladyland, but they are Acoustic Ladyland saxophonist Pete Wareham’s new band and they are fantastic!
This album is a showcase of talent. Pete Wareham is joined on sax duties by jazz sax maestro Shabaka Hutchings, but this album is pretty far from a jazz outing. In fact, if you are expecting jazz, even out-there punk-influenced jazz a la Acoustic Ladyland, then you are barking up the wrong album.
There is no denying that that same adrenaline-fueled attitude is present, but this is deep and expansive. Listening to the first three tracks throws you a curve ball as you are presented with what can only be described as dub jazz, with reverb-laden vocals, African beats, courtesy of Tom Skinner (of Hello Skinny, who has drummed with Mulatu Astatke and Matthew Herbert) and Satin Singh, big driving basslines from Ruth Goller (also of Acoustic Ladyland), as well as electronics from Leafcutter John (from Polar Bear). We Are Enough shakes it up a bit with a decidedly ska-influenced track. The Acoustic Ladyland sound is present in places, for example at the beginning of Kingdom Of Kush and other times when the music breaks down to just the duo of saxes.
There is also a big African/Middle-Eastern influence in the delivery of Kushal Gaya’s vocals, as they are belted out in French and English, with the occasional scatting. The dub reminds me in places of African Head Charge and, at times, due to the punk attitude, Public Image Ltd. I am also reminded a lot of bands, such as Chrome Hoof and Secret Chiefs 3, that seamlessly incorporate global influence with heavier and aggressive music, for example on Mouth To Mouth and Camel.
This is an amazing album, dubby, rocky, acid jazz. A worthy successor to Acoustic Ladyland and an album that I will be singing the praises of for a long time to come.
Favourite tracks: Tuna, Mouth To Mouth, Camel