wed 21/11/2018

CD: Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings on Earth | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings on Earth

CD: Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings on Earth

Chants and cross pollination from the exotic interface of jazz and post punk

Melt Yourself Down's 'Last Evenings on Earth': its varied roots are clear

Relentless is the word. The second studio album from post-punk jazzers Melt Yourself Down starts as it means to finish. It opens with a hard, pulsing bass guitar which sets the scene for “Dot to Dot”, a persistent chant suggesting Sufi adepts with a yen for Killing Joke. It ends, nine tracks later, with “Yazzan Dayra’s” melding of Nyabinghi percussion to the sound of an exotic market-stall barker and strident saxophone interjections. Over its 36 minutes, Last Evenings on Earth does not let up.

The varied roots of the Melt Yourself Down sound are clear. They have collaborated with New York no wave maverick James Chance and, with their lack of six-string guitar and emphasis instead on the bass, are cousins of early Eighties dance deconstructionists Liquid Liquid (also from New York). Their frontman – singer is not the right label – Kushal Gaya is Mauritian, also in Zun Zun Egui and has a declamatory style akin to that of Mark Stewart. Their leader and saxophonist Pete Wareham plays in Polar Bear. Electronic whiz Leafcutter John is integral to their line-up. Melt Yourself Down are about cross pollination. Indeed, when Wareham and fellow sax player Shabaka Hutchings team up, their flurries conjure those integral to the brass arrangements of Serbia’s Boban Marković.

Overall, whatever the musical and personnel family tree, Last Evenings on Earth is about forward momentum and a trance-like fervour. The resultant album is samey though. One track bleeds into the next and each becomes indistinguishable from the other. Some light and shade would have been good. The initially high impact diffuses as the ear becomes attuned. Maybe a single, Fela Kuti-style 30-minute piece would have better made the case? Nonetheless, if experienced live, this would flatten an audience.

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