Melt Yourself Down’s eponymous debut caught the attention of the broadsheet media so much that many considered it a surprise omission from the 2013 Mercury Prize Shortlist. So, there should be many pleased to hear that Last Evenings On Earth is a continuation down that same, wonderfully strange musical path.
Led by Pete Wareham of the now defunct punk-spirited jazz group Acoustic Ladyland, this collective from the British jazz avant-garde have created an album that sizzles with the same kinetic energy that rips through the heart of their live sets.
Named after a collection of short stories by the Chilean writer Roberto Bolano, Last Evenings On Earth is a characteristically eclectic listen. With members of Zun Zun Egui, Polar Bear, Sons Of Kemet and Transglobal Underground among the band, Melt Yourself Down bring forth a cross pollination of ideas that mixes North African styles with elements of jazz, punk and funk to form a sonic concoction that's thoroughly distinctive, with a uniqueness that can’t be imitated.
At times - such as on opener "Dot To Dot", where an overdriven bass riff starts proceedings before a steady rhythm kicks in a slow build - a saxophone led punctuating topline and various effects help give a psychedelic edge. Things shift up on the funk edged "Listen Out", which sees danceable rhythms collide with a dirtied bassline that shares the same spirit Bootsy Collins and Parliament songs. It, like so many songs on Last Evenings On Earth, has a fidgety, loosely controlled nature that sees it stray off into almost freeform sections before winding itself back in again, but it’s precisely this inclination to push boundaries that makes Melt Yourself Down so appealing.