MELODICA DEATHSHIP – The Sunken Path EP (Cooler than Cucumbers Records 2012)

Melodica Deathship

Strong tides bring the deathship back into dock with another cargo of throbbing electronic doom, mournful phantasmal melodica and nautical soliloquy. With great strides of confidence, Melodica Deathship have expanded on the blueprint of their debut album DOOM YOUR CITIES, DOOM YOUR TOWNS and crafted a mighty 6 track EP as a follow-up. New levels of creativity are at work here and what started out as a gloriously eccentric concept has now been fertilised into something deserving of greatness and longevity.

The opening track, STANDING ON THE HILL is immediately arresting in its progression from what has come previously. The structure has less in common with their hip-hip roots and a striking female lead vocal is beguiling and unexpected. The overall effect is dark, windswept, haunting and even celtic tinged – but not in a twee báinín way and definitely not in an airbrushed, pretentious, Loxian gibberish way. This still embraces the gloom of shore wreckage, black skies, nautical harbinging and a siren on the rocks teasing out imminent disaster. The suspense swells further with THE SEA BEYOND THE SEA, which ebbs around a teutonic synth line, reverberating feedback and maritime melancholy. ALL HORIZON again breaks new ground, opening with the resonance of slow air melodica, dense synth riffing and a sense that the weight of it all is just a little inspired by a certain Mr. Iommi. The vocals enter and are punctuated by bruising stabs, only adding to this observation. Whatever the intention, the result is imposing and powerful. The devious and daunting THIRTEEN carries itself astride a pounding bass line with abrasions of a sonic storm and an impressive lyrical cadence. In keeping with the refined poetic quality of Melodica Deathship, there’s not a wasted syllable in any of these diatribes (I originally thought this was going to be a reworking – or different version – of DUB THIRTEEN from the album but it’s a completely different track). ASENATH leads out with a booming rhythm, reverb drenched melodica and electronic punctuations like bombardment from a heaving firmament. It gives little away but is a fitting closure to this tense and blustery chapter.

What makes Melodica Deathship unique is that although hip-hop is one of the root ingredients here, they’re far advanced and removed from the slavery of audio that has a sole purpose of serving a beat. An infinitely wider catchment is embraced and their impressive offerings thus far are proof that there is much uncharted territory ahead. This is an entity that probably could have spawned from a number of geographical locations, but it seems that there’s a definite symbiosis with the bleak greys of a certain soaked little Island on the edge of Europe. Whether this is classed as a form of stormy romanticism, rhythmic doom fiction or seawater drinking madness is down to viewpoint, but there’s little denying in the fact that it’s dread apprehension, brooding fables and desolate melodies are utterly peerless. – BOZ

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