The I’s Mind: U-Melt
Quite possibly the best thing a band can do for itself, and its potential fans, is to make albums representative of its live routines. On U-Melt’s latest, they come in jamming and it’s hard not to get up and dance a jig; if only we were all in a field somewhere. While a studio setting lends itself to some amazing and exceptionally creative musical experimentation and expression, there’s nothing worse than getting to a show and realizing that the band you thought you were going to hear doesn’t actually exist on stage. With New York City’s U-Melt, what you hear on CD is what you’re going to get at the show.
The U-Melt sound could be compared at times to the jams of String Cheese Incident (minus the bluegrass) with some of the vocal approaches of moe., all wrapped up in a heady and danceable pita. Having seen them live, it’s satisfying to hear their live presence translate so well onto disc.
“Air” is a healthy dose of funk, Zac Lasher’s organs whining throughout, allowing space for Rob Salzer’s electric guitar to speak while Adam Bendy’s bass and George Miller’s drumming lock it all together as it flows directly into the next tune. Lasher is more active on the bubbling “Escape.” “415” is soothing and ponderous — “I wonder why the rain falls down,” they sing — ending at 12 minutes. “Sequel” is a pleasure with Bendy and Lasher weaving through one another in a meaty procession of brain bending vamps. “Go” realizes that we can’t always be on the same trip, even when we want to be: “Go if you’re going to go. I’m just going to stay.” “Different Things” is just goofy enough of an off kilter sound to keep you smiling through the dance, and that’s a double gift in my book.
The I’s Mind is a worthy grab and a great introduction to U-Melt, being representative rather than some studio offshoot far from their base. And another celebratory point to finish with, this is a disc the listener is likely to play through to the end without considering a track skip, because it’s just that tasty.