Chippendale/Gustafsson/Pupillo— Melt (2014, Trost)
For five minutes, the kids resolutely try to pry open a can of apoplectic bees. At some point, with the flick of wrist and roll over the trap set, Rhode Island’s Keith Moon, Brian Chippendale, pries the lid off and all hell breaks loose. Drums go all Indiana Jones running from a boulder in Temple of Doom. Massimo Pupillo’s (Zu) bass explodes in the open air while Mats Gustafsson’s keeps the sax sheathed, instead opting to season the dish to taste with a liberal twist of electronics. Admittedly Melt, for all its promise, at times disappoints. Chippendale seems to be a major driver within this particular ensemble resulting in a group which sounds like less muscular Lightning Bolt, which is curious given the trio’s numerical superiority. On top of that, Gustafsson’s harsh riffing is conspicuously absent and instead traded for electronics for the bulk of the record. Those times when the Swede shifts from knob twiddler to valve tickler are some of the albums most interesting and confrontational moments. For all of its disappointing elements, Melt is like a ride on a haunted merry-go-round. The horses snort sulfur, the carnival’s amiable atmosphere falls away, and a surreal hell starts to impose itself onto your psyche. When you finally get through your hail marys and muster the courage to dive off into the abyss, you awaken from a long (the two longest tracks are 32 and 46 minutes, respectively) strange dream. You come to feeling like you’ve just encountered a slurring drunk who is insistent on describing a Jodorowsky film he saw once when he was stoned —and he’s leaving out the good parts. The remnants of banal anecdotes about someone seeing Metallica as a teenager still echo in your head. Melt, despite a fairly reputable line-up, leaves a lot to be desired.