The Unbelievable Meltdown – U-Melt
When U-Melt made its debut performance in 2003, the quartet did so with an undeniable familiarity and notable poise. But then again, the name was the only thing that had changed; the new nomenclature U-Melt was simply a new direction for band a440. A year later, the band continues to define U-Melt as a potentially lethal player on the jamband scene, and its debut album successfully discards any notion of silliness that the name may infer.
A tightly wound, dueling lead stretches across a drifting chord progression to introduce "Green Amber," the opening track of The Unbelievable Meltdown. Immediately identifiable is U-Melt’s propensity for precision, and the album’s 10 tracks encompass concise, well-defined segments executed with the zest of veteran players. Infusing a gamut of genres and influences jazz, rock, and electronica being the most evident the quartet molds a sound that waxes and wanes from multi-segmented opii (‘Missed’) to instrumental piano compositions (‘Vulpecula’) with uncommon ease.
From the opening notes, however, the band’s influences are aglow beneath the surface and foretell a common pratfall for up-and-coming-musicians who struggle to discard stylistic elements championed by others. But despite initial similarities audible in U-Melt, the members are quick to set off on their own distinctive path within each composition. Guitarist Rob Salzer takes aim at each solo with nimble-fingered precision, and his fretwork is complimented by the sprawling textures woven together by keyboardist Zac Lasher and bassist Adam Bendy. Most remarkable is the air between each instrument. Rooted in drummer George Miller’s sparing rhythms, U-Melt builds a musical composite that is more clear than cloudy, and unfolds easily into provoking sonic segments.
In only a year, U-Melt has demonstrated its potential, and The Unbelievable Meltdown, albeit uneven at times, exposes an articulate quiver of influences which the members have absorbed, shaken up, and melded into something of their own. With time, U-Melt will shed any comparisons to bands past and present, filling its own skin and charting its own progressive course based on unabashed talent.