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Young Magic Melt Review

Album. Released 2012.  

BBC Review

A cracking debut of invention and intrigue from the New York-based trio.

Mike Diver 2012

Formed in New York but comprising no NYC natives (instead: a pair of Australians and an Indonesian), Young Magic are an intriguing proposition before a note of this debut album has been heard. And just as their appearance is rather awry of what might be deemed ‘typical’ of an outfit looking to break out of the Big Apple, their music is similarly striking: the influence of myriad acts has been stirred into a sound that’s rarely anything but its makers’ own.

It’s hard to pin Melt down to precise parallels – as its title so curtly conveys, the lines that frame each inspirational cornerstone have come undone. The end product flirts with rap but crackles with a lo-fi looseness; thinks of itself as a companion to Brainfeeder’s out-there fare, but gets distracted into lassoing guitar motifs from the west coast of Africa; and muddles its way from A to B like Panda Bear blinded in a fog, only to cut into clarity with no warning. Yeasayer and MGMT serve as ‘ins’ for those needing established acts to open doors for them; but the best way to experience Melt is to sink into it shorn of expectations. Here, the listener can really let the bubbling melodies, chanted mantras and delicious textures take hold. And once bitten, it’s unlikely Melt will let go of one’s attentions soon.

Sparkly opens with a gentle chorus of crisp guitars and ethereal vocals; come the drums, it’s a different track completely, and that Yeasayer comparison grips tightly. But then Melt finds another gear, Slip Time a cavalcade of instrumental shrieks, haunted moans and lyricism that might qualify as confrontational if you could be sure of what was being said. HEALTH at half-speed, possessed by chilling spectres, it’s a track to bolt a man upright in his seat. Night in the Ocean is the fulcrum upon which the set rests, a great four minutes which dares to encapsulate everything brilliant about this collection. Slurred raps, like a beat poet racked by drink addiction; music that waxes and wanes, and explodes; and a great spirit which, rather than confine itself to basements and bedsits, aims its sights on the heavens. It’s got a healthy dose of My Bloody Valentine to it which, partnered with the rap elements, might have some recalling the heavyweight hip hop of New Jersey’s Dälek – no bad thing, at all.

But, throughout, there’s no concern that these three – Isaac, Michael and Melati – aren’t being true to themselves and whatever vision first possessed them to create this music together. Sure, Melt wears stripes that other creatures prowling the margins of the mainstream have been seen to sport; but these are singular in their direction, unique in their pattern. This is a discernibly different beast from any aforementioned acts of convenient comparison – from a distance, sure, it has its similarities, but zoom in and it’s an exquisite new breed to behold.

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