REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

The Melodic - Afro-Anglo folk: Their words are gentle. Their words are strong

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Often you hear an album that is classified as Nu-folk where the Mumfordisation of the genre contributes to declining expectations. Not so the debut album from young Afro-Anglo folksters The Melodic, who self recorded it in a South London bedroom.


The Melodic - Effra Parade (OUT NOW)

Following the acclaimed EP ‘On My Way,’ this labour of love is formed from richly layered instrumentation. The Brixton band intermingle folk with pop and world beats using the Melodica, Kora and Ukulele. An organic sounding album leads with the lovely Charango sound of the single ‘On My Way.’ In ‘Imperfect Time,’ the ascendant instruments actually seem to be perfectly placed. ‘If I settle for less would it ever be enough’ they harmonise beautifully as the brass dances over the bouncy kora and Beirut style horns. The song sounds like a gentle journey over cobblestones. While ‘Plunge,’ makes you feel like you want to Samba to it. Vocal interludes like ‘Honey Bee,’ and ‘Willow,’ split the album periodically and pace the piece differently. ‘No time to waste when there’s work to do. No time to waste when the flowers are in bloom.’ ‘Roots,’ has a reggae feel to it. ‘Runaway,’ is more twee indie. Noah and the Whale meets early Kooks. Generally the lyrics are simple but effective and they match well with the sunny beauty of the tunes. The narrative pinnacle is ‘Ode to  Victor Jara.’  The Melodic follow in Pete Seeger’s footsteps in addressing his death. Yet they are perhaps the first to mention the Chilean activist since the Clash on ‘Washington Bullets.’ Paul Simon is not far from your mind as you listen to ‘Watch the World Turn Blue.’  Call and response male/female vocals intersperse with plenty of natural sounds. Similar to Midlake and Fleet Foxes it often seems like they are playing in a wood.  The title track is the perfect outro. ‘No I won’t let my days fade away, I’ve made that mistake before,’ they repeat like a brass band composed of fairies. By this point they are the Pied Piper and you are following them out of the door. This rustic yet multi-influenced English folk album includes found sounds and the band chatting about their arrangements. Their lisping quivery vocals make it more charming. Think The Incredible String Band meets Laura Marling with the cheekiness of Laura J. Martin and the lucidity of Johnny Flynn. Effra Parade is a treasure trove of instrumentation both delicate and complex. As they declare earlier: There’s more than leaves the tongue and there’s more than meets the ear! 8/10