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Review: 'Melomaniacs, The'

-  Genre: 'Soundtrack'

Our Rating:
Having misplaced the press release, I had no expectations approaching this album, the disc housed in a fairly bland picture of some deserty scrubland that’s 85% sky, but for some reason, I expected something that wasn’t… this. It’s not a criticism or complaint – just a registration of surprise. ‘Dust’ is mellow, and drifts… but perhaps I’d expected something more abstract, more ambient than this quite tightly-knotted musical work that calls to mind Leonard Cohen above all others.

Much of that stems from the cracked baritone croon of Mike Marlin: a spot of research uncovers that the grizzled middle-aged singer with a deft knack for penning and delivering affecting songs – and for whom I have immense admiration – is (or was, since they’ve subsequently disbanded) a Melomaniac, and with that piece of information things start to make sense. Similarly, a bit of on-line delving reveals that ‘Dust’ the album is in fact the soundtrack to the multimedia project ‘Dust’, which documents an epic journey across America.

The 9 compositions are inky, doomy, and while it’s not exactly challenging sonically, it’s seriously dark. There’s schmaltzy but dark waltz and sultry, smoky, late-light Latin on offer here; Marlin and co. really explore different territories that are both musical and geographical. The last track, ‘Hopes & Fears’ has a mellow acoustic backdrop that borders on ambient and is home to some epic sax breakage ahead of some hushed, intimate voice.

‘Dust’ is delicate, fragile, and yet it hangs in the atmosphere with an air of post-rock perfection as notes drift and eddy and turn. And so it takes the shape of a sparse, but solid album. bleak but sleek in its own way, ‘Dust’ has everything going for it.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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Melomaniacs, The - Dust