- The Melodic
- Effra Parade
For those waiting impatiently for the next release by Belle & Sebastian or prefer their folk played with a delicate touch and subtle influences from around the globe, the full-length debut by Brixton, England’s The Melodic may not only tide you over but should also give innumerable pleasures for years to come.
Besides a proper studio, recording took place in band member Rudi Schmidt’s bedroom, above a restaurant and along the coastal hills of South West Wales. The locales are important because they enhance the songs being born organically while giving the impression f musicians desperately trying not to upset the neighbors with too much volume. The surroundings can be heard in the final versions of these spry, gently uplifting tracks. “Watch the World Turn Blue” starts as if it’s being rehearsed at an outdoor café and then segues into a fully-fleshed out number that has the vibe of The Cat Empire in a laidback mode.
The instrumental, “Last Thing You Said,” unfolds as if it’s the soundtrack to the opening credits of a travelogue film. The Melodic’s writing and arrangements give the sense of an awakening geared towards the adventures found while on holiday. That number’s last note slowly fades into the earnest and bouyant “On My Way.” Here, and throughout the album, the sextet adds instrumentation from South America (queno and charango) and West Africa (kora) as well as marimba in a manner that immerses it with English folk and adds to the global trekking vibe.
Despite The Melodic’s whimsical ways, there’s an undertone of sadness and seriousness that culminates in “Ode to Victor Jara,” an account of the Chilean teacher, singer/songwriter and political activist who was murdered by government officials. Then, there’s the single line chorus of “Runaway” which sums up the emotional decision that’s turned into action — “Turning my back on what I know.”
Even with its moments of drama, Effra Parade settles you down on a frenzied day, cuddles with you when things go wrong and befriends you every moment in between.