Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Review

The Meltdown (HopeStreet Recordings)

meltdown 1

9

6.6

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UK release date 07.04.2017

It appears that there's another fine band to join the funky echelons and vanguards of Australian soul (we're talking - The Bamboos, Cooking On Three Burners, The Cactus Channel, Deep Street Soul etc...) and they are causing a mini meltdown with their sophisticated stirrings with well-crafted songs, Stax-infused styling and a lead singer with vocals to die for!

Opening track "Darkness In The Light" sounds like Bushwick on steroids awash with twang and gusto. It's magnificent intro gives way to sheer torture, murder ballad style, if Tarantino doesn't use this I'd be mightily surprised! Whomever produced this makes Phil Spector seem rank amateurish!

"Crooked Country", a propulsive, churning potboiler has the guitarist imitating, "Chicken Run", taking chicken pickin' to a new level and the horn section render their rock-solid playing with conviction. In fact, the ensemble playing throughout this debut platter is sterling.

Simon Burke's honeyed rasp is a real treasure, floating effortlessly over a slough of well honed material and "Better Days" exemplifies this to a tee, stark punchy drums, bobbing bass, twangy guitar, choppy keys and fat horns reign throughout. It's smooth elegance may not express life's bohemian ironies as well as singer/songwriter smarm, but it does a far finer job of depicting the world most of us try to live in everyday - majestical stuff!

Another corker (and there are many) is the closing "Colours In The Sky", by definition the pure tone of their country soul roots. A real classic with shades of Van the man ("Into The Mystic") this is good balm to sooth the soul.

The Meltdown are going to make believers out of all of us with their joyous bounce, swagger and drive - essential listening in anybody's book!
Words Emrys Baird

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