Carlton Melton - Always Even LP + Poster
5 great new tracks from Carlton Melton. Always Even is available on CD or LP (green or black vinyl) + Poster.
Quietus Review: When I was growing up I was lucky enough to have bedroom curtains decorated with stars, planets and other astronomical prettiness. It gave me a glimpse into the galaxy that I was otherwise denied by light pollution, not owning a telescope, and being too lazy to do a paper-round in order to buy myself a telescope. Now that I am a (barely functional, almost wholly inadequate) adult male, our sensible bedroom is furnished with a large, plain, pitch-black blind which can be raised and lowered by a dangling parallel drawstring like an agonisingly slow guillotine. During my frequent bouts of anxiety-induced insomnia, that blind just loves to stare down at me doing its finest impression of a giant blank gravestone or an intimidating portal to black-hole oblivion or the ultimate sodding Rothko.
Instead, Carlton Melton have now lunged in the opposite direction. At only five tracks (just two exceeding the nine-minute mark) and with a total running time of thirty-eight minutes….Even so, it is a far more delectable palate-cleanser than most groups could serve from their audio freezer. Drumless opener 'Slow Wakes' eases us in with its mellow Funkadelic noodling and serene synthesiser drones. This makes way for 'Keeping On'. The guitars here are far crunchier, the synths engaged in jittering oscillated Moog-ery. They're backed (just as Wooden Shjips always are) by a practical, no-nonsense drumbeat. The track also includes some pleasingly sharp shards of feedback and, towards the end, a lead guitar part which flies backwards past satellites wearing an unhinged jetpack. Re-banishing the percussion, 'Spiderwebs' consists of a gentle, primitive refrain plucked over abstract washes of astral splodge.
The two best and (not coincidentally) longest tracks take up side two. First is 'Sarsen', a warmly fuzzed motorik space-Kraut groove decorated with android birdsong, blasts of gonzoid soloing, and a hip false ending; a kosmische stroll that Circle, Hawkwind, Faust or Gnod would all be equally proud of. 'The Splurge' is, well, splurgier. It's a looser, more clankingly industrial, chaotically lumbering affair, like Glenn Branca, dressed as the Tin Man, toppling up one of Esher's staircases.
So, I could say that Carlton Melton are among the finest purveyors of out-there psych-rock currently spellbinding audiences into deep, trippy hypnosis. I could say that, notwithstanding its relative brevity, Always Even is further proof of their remarkable heady abilities.
Or I could just say this: Always Even will make a grown man type the words 'space curtains' into the eBay search box.
1. Slow Wake
2. Keeping On
5. The Splurge