The news that Melt Yourself Down’s latest album is to be released by Decca, an imprint of the mighty Universal Music Group, comes as a surprise. The London-based six piece, which was formed in 2012 by sax subversive Pete Wareham, always came over as outsiders, recording for the Yorkshire-based independent Leaf Label.
What a relief then to find that MYD hasn’t opted for a more user-friendly approach and 100% Yes perpetuates the crazed, in-your-face sound Wareham developed with arch no-wave jazzers Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland.
Boot And Spleen sets the tone, a pure 70s punk-informed work-out, vocalist Kush Gaya belting out an anti-colonial chant, Wareham’s sax punching breathlessly into the tight spaces Gaya leaves. This Is The Squeeze has a similar spiky feel, bumped along by Ruth Goller’s threatening bass line, Wareham switching tones to a snaky Levantine skirl. The programme of nine short, sharp shocks covers a lot of ground polemically, from Grenfell (Born In The Manor) to drug addiction (Crocodile). Musically, as Wareham points out, it gives vent to the group’s feelings of “extreme cultural restlessness”.
You can hear that in title track 100% Yes, which combines the machine-like insistence of Kraftwerk with dub reggae, topped off with a grainy tenor sax line from Wareham. 100% Yes from me!
Boot and Spleen; This Is The Squeeze; Born In The Manor; Every Single Day; It Is What It Is; From The Mouth; Crocodile; Don’t think Twice; Chop Chop; 100% Yes (36.00)
Pete Wareham (ts); Kush Gaya (v); Adam Betts (d); George Crowley (ts); Ruth Goller (b); Zands Duggan (pc).
Decca 0804285 / 0800821 (LP)