Thursday, 20:15, Strong Island Recordings Presents: Taman Shud, Shacklewell Arms 28/07/16
As usual, I was late. Initially Melt Dunes’ obliteratingly dark psychedelic sound was so overpowering that I found myself migrating to the back of the room where it was safe and a bit quieter. Following the first song, the much more palatable ‘What’s Your Name’ (one of the few tracks that the band have actually released online) came as a complete musical surprise. What you quickly realise about Melt Dunes, or at least what I recall thinking as I searched the floor for my eardrums, is that they’re not really about the vocals, or the guitar, or the bass.. everything just seems to exist as an afterthought to the overall sound. At the Shaklewell, the sound in question was impeccably tight and pretty much seamless- only a couple of breaks were taken to re-tune throughout the set and the band seemed to operate a strict no crowd banter policy. It was easy to feel like an outsider peering through a keyhole at this series of private lengthy fast-slow psych jams, often only based on a couple of notes. At times the rich timbre and synchronicity of the music was astounding and an air of simplicity was given off that probably wasn’t actually that hard to come- by. One of the highlights of the set was a twisted waltz played on keys, really reiterating the doom n gloom side of psych that this band seem to represent. It’s funny because the band I had actually been excited about were Taman Shud. After listening to Melt dunes though, the ‘necro- psych’ of the legendary headline act was a lot harder to stomach, so I decided to get the last train home.
A fantastical surprise; psychedelic rock’s scary older brother.