After famously missing out on The Beatles, Decca have vowed never to make the same mistake twice. They’ve snapped up London’s jazz / funk / post-punk outfit Melt Yourself Down for their third album, 100% Yes! They’ve drafted in producers Flood and Ben Hillier who have added a bit of synth to the band’s sound. There are also some hard-hitting lyrics focusing on the realities of modern Britain.
Vinyl LP £20.99 800821
LP on Decca.
- Only 2 copies left (5 people have this in their carts)
CD £11.99 804285
CD on Decca.
Melt Yourself Down have long dined out on their reputation as a live act of great power. The band's brassy, psychedelic interpretation of no-wave disco sweeps you up when witnessed in full effect, their saxophone/drum/bass attack very hard to resist up close and personal. To date they have never quite managed to translate their all-guns-blazing live show into a coherent album, and ‘100% YES!’, their third LP, doesn't quite pull it off either. However, it is also closer to the mark than Melt Yourself Down’s previous studio recordings.
The crew of Pete Wareham, Kushal Gaya et al display a bit more compositional rigour here, augmenting the fervid grooves that have become their stock-in-trade with flourishes of synth, denser psychedelic textures and a little more attention to songcraft. Gaya’s lyrics also evince a desire to convey a more digestible message, with the highwire, David Byrne-esque frippery he had displayed in the past largely switched out for a punkish directness that covers topics like minority ethnic identity in Britain, hustlenomics, personal agency in the social media age and the Grenfell tower fire.
However, for all their efforts to evolve, ‘100% YES!’ falls down the same hole as Melt Yourself Down’s other LPs - namely the fact that the preponderance of psych-funk grooves becomes a little numbing as the album wears on. Even by ‘It Is What It Is’, the fifth track here and one which I have no doubt will cause a frenzy in the dance, your ears have already become a little fatigued with the band’s yipping skronks. Furthermore, while you cannot fault the politics of Gaya’s righteous invective, this more streamlined style does sacrifice some of the unpredictability he has shown both on earlier Melt Yourself Down records and as leader of the much-missed Zun Zun Egui.
‘100% YES!’ peaks when the band stick to their sonic principles but apply them to virgin territory. ‘Every Single Day’ contains not one but two great licks, with the switch to an undulating synth bass motif at around two minutes in the first point on ‘100% YES!’ to thrill as much for its compositional daring as for its explosive energy. ‘From The Mouth’ also holds its own, the deft sax work and two-step beat offering a thrilling change of pace. ‘Don't Think Twice’ makes up for its slightly weak chorus with a fantastically unusual verse, the Heliocentrics-style library-hop beat finessed by dreamy vocals from Gaya which resemble Black Sabbath’s ‘Planet Caravan’.
Indeed, ‘Don't Think Twice’ is one of two points in the later part of the record in which Gaya’s choice to deviate from the more rote vocal stylings of the rest of ‘100% YES!’ pays dividends. Rather than declaiming from the front, his ethereal coos on the closing title-track help to transport the number into a dreamy, impressionistic space. It’s both demonstrative of Melt Yourself Down’s achilles heel - their continued struggle to be as good on record as they are live - and also an intimation that they may be on the verge of cracking the code.
YOUR RECENTLY VIEWED ITEMS
- 100% YES! by Melt Yourself Down
What the artist or label has to say for themselves. Read more.