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Album: Melt Yourself Down - Pray For Me I Don't Fit In | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Melt Yourself Down - Pray For Me I Don't Fit In

Album: Melt Yourself Down - Pray For Me I Don't Fit In

London Afro-jazz-punkers go all out on their unbridled fourth album

In case you were wondering: "Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art"

Melt Yourself Down’s last one, 100% Yes, was the most ballistically exciting album of 2020. The band are unique, a six-piece mutation who, as their album title indicates, don’t fit in anywhere. The good news is that they’ve not tempered what they’re up to one jot. Pray For Me I Don’t Fit In amplifies the in-yer-faceness of their music and rampages out of the speakers like a wild beast.

Where 100% Yes was underpinned by a lively Afro-indie funk aesthetic, their fourth album ups the ante, becoming closer to the scene that gave them their name (they were named after an obscure album by Seventies New York no wave sax don James Chance). They retain their north African scalings, especially noticeable on “For Real” and “Nightsiren”, but have increased the pace, density and threat.

Band leader Pete Wareham is in Polar Bear with Seb Rochford, and Shabaka Hutchings was in an early incarnation of Melt Yourself Down. These references are relevant but the band’s music skidaddles away from jazz’s propensity for improv flight, adhering instead to brilliantly relentless punk-funk rhythms. These are all actual songs, with vocalist Kushal Gaya belting it out. It’s not always clear what he’s singing and shouting amid the more maelstromic moments, but there’s enough audible to give a good idea: “My best friend said I’m not black enough, my neighbour said I’m not woke enough”...

The latter lyric is from the title track, which sounds like Talking Heads gone punk at a Puerto Rican carnival. It opens an album whose energy seldom lapses. Cuts such as “Fun Fun Fun” and “I Got Time” are dancefloor storms, as ready for a pogo as to groove, the former also catchy as Omicron, while “Balance” is like a jazznik take on Roxy-fuelled “Adolescent Sex”-era early Japan, an absolute banger.

There are tasty slower ones too, notably “Ghost on the Run” which has touch of “Mack the Knife” about it, but deep-dipped in doomy, skittering Afro-synth pulsing. But Pray For Me I Don’t Fit In mostly keeps the pedal to the floor. It is glorious, inventive outsider music that hides nothing and gives everything.

Below: Watch the "visualiser" for "Balance" by Melt Yourself Down

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