THE PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in 2012 by Mercury nominated sax innovator Pete Wareham and fronted by vocalist Kush Gaya, London six-piece Melt Yourself Down rose from the ashes of Pete’s previous outfit Acoustic Ladyland and from everything he learned with Polar Bear. His work in reinventing and defying musical genres has paved the way for acts such as Comet is Coming, Black Flower and Sons of Kemet, to name a handful. Their third studio album, 100% YES, is the band’s most vital yet. Working with production legends Youth and Ben Hillier, the band have reimagined themselves and created a bruising re-up of their signature sound with added synths, anthems and epic joyrides. They play into a great tradition of British insurgents that spans decades and genres, from the Sex Pistols to Radiohead, from Kate Tempest to Young Fathers. Yet the band’s lineage is also connected to jazz’s rich history of sticking a middle finger to The Man. “Jazz was the wild, dirty music of the 20s, 30s,” says Kush. “It was not a sit down, polite, experience.” Pete adds: “my favourite kind of jazz is when it feels dangerous.” The desire to create new sonic pathways is an integral philosophy to Melt Yourself Down, whose two critically lauded albums to date have alchemised influences from noisy No Wave to Nubian rhythms to create an eclectic and pan-global kind of party-punk. But their epochal third album 100% YES is their strongest statement yet, representing both a peak of musical synthesis for the band as well as a personal triumph. This is a record set to establish Melt Yourself Down at the forefront of today’s music innovators, and a timely document of the increasingly complex nature of Britishness, whilst at the same time bubbles with excitement and hopefulness. “So much has changed in the world since we started writing in 2016,” says Pete. “We couldn’t ignore any of it and this new music is borne from our feelings of extreme cultural restlessness.”
MY TWO CENTS: This is jazz? For some reason, a lot of people seem to think so. I don’t. In fact, I think it’s a bad idea even to call this album jazz. Not that I’m some sort of purist policing the borders of the genre. Not even close. I think it’s a bad idea because the J-word not only turns off the masses of people who should hear this — it actually does the album a massive disservice. Melt Yourself Down’s incredible and inventive 100% YES is so much more than just another stuffy, serious jazz album. It’s a wild, weird and wonderfully woolly musical romp through a kaleidoscopic landscape of musical genres and styles — funk and soul and Afrobeat and reggae and punk and whatever else strikes this unbridled sextet’s fancy in the moment. Over the course of 10 infectious tracks powered by skronking saxes, infections grooves, lumpy basslines, quirky vocals and trippy sonics, you’ll be reminded of everyone from Pigbag to Fela, James Brown to James White, Talking Heads to Tower of Power, Red Hot Chili Peppers to Primus, Big Audio Dynamite to Lee Scratch Perry — and plenty more besides. Despite all those familiar faces, when you get right down to it, these energized workouts don’t sound quite like anything you’ve ever heard before. But they’re definitely something you will want to hear on constant repeat for the foreseeable future. So no, this ain’t jazz. Though you could argue it’s what jazz should be.