Album Reviews

MELTS – Maelstrom

(Mother Sky) UK release date: 17 June 2022

This Dublin psychedelic band’s debut is a mesmerising collection of sci-fi inspired grooves

MELTS - Maelstrom Irish psychedelic band MELTS have served up a mesmerising collection of sci-fi inspired grooves designed to “get people into a trance” for their debut album Maelstrom, according to the band’s drummer Gaz Earle. Built around repetition with the intention of being hypnotic isn’t anything new of course, but the Dublin based five-piece have managed to achieve their goal in a way that comfortably rivals their peers within the genre.

The addition of Robbie Brady (sequencers/keyboards) seems to have given the band that final push towards their intended destination, and his stamp is all over the album. The title track serves as the opener and it’s as much of a signature tune as you could encounter. It’s fuzzy, drenched in psychedelics and basically a mass of euphoria as it twists this way and that. Unsurprisingly about a storm, it’s a suitably blistering start that leads to an impressive collection of mind-melding sounds that will please anyone with even a slight interest in this style.

Single Outlier – about the distance in space between objects, apparently – is slower and sounds exactly as it should do, like a slab of space-rock that creates intense atmospherics peppered with echoey vocals from frontman Eoin Kenny. Its synth hook is constant, bouncing along to create a canvas for the swirls above – very impressive stuff. Closer Tides is another notable highlight as the band generate epic fuzz for some pumping, energising rock. The instrumental passages are riveting, crafting an aura that engulfs you, and just when you think it’s all over as it fades away too quickly, it returns like a second fix, and picks you up after the initial buzz has started to wane; it’s a fittingly thrilling climax perfectly suited to be a show closer.

Elsewhere the tracks don’t quite reach the same heights but they never sink low enough to make you press the skip button, an admirable achievement on a debut album. Signal is slightly more chaotic as it approaches the self-destruct stages whilst Circular benefits from a mesmerising, pulsating electronic beat, accomplishing the band’s remit almost single-handedly – you could quite easily fall under its spell. Spectral is more serene, apt for a tribute to their friend lost to suicide, as Kenny asks “Do you listen while I sleep?” over a floaty, dreamlike soundscape.

Waltzer benefits from more electronic pulses, reminiscent of a warped fairground attraction, and Skyward boasts a compelling chorus melody around its rhythmical, cyclic hook. Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox is on production duties and his post-punk roots have significantly helped shape Maelstrom, while Brady’s electronic, sonic-swirls feel like stroke of genius added to an already accomplished group – the counterbalance seems to work perfectly, ensuring this debut is one that should stay on turntables for some time.

buy MELTS MP3s or CDs
Spotify MELTS on Spotify

More on MELTS
MELTS – Maelstrom