Today is a good day, for today I have been introduced to The Secret Teaching Of Sorrow, and it’s the new album from French dark alternative rock quartet Melt. For those of you who don’t know the band, they originally started as a duo when vocalist Charlotte and guitarist Olivier met, back in October 2007. During the first 8 years of living together they created the first Melt demos, in what can only be described as complete chaos. The result was a very personal combination of rock and metal, it’s screaming, but not with your guts, and more with your soul.
In 2015 they added Roméo (drums) and Jux (bass guitar) – and with these additions, Melt could finally become a band, and went on to play every kind of stage in their local area over the next 5 years. Olivier and Charlotte both play guitar, and Charlotte writes the lyrics, and also sings in her own unique way. Her lyrics are classed as ‘oniric’, which apparently is a mix of English and sometimes an imaginary, invented language, disconnected from the earthly world, so you would be forgiven for not grasping everything that’s being vocalised toward you.
When I came to this album I was a little unsure what I was letting myself in for, I had no previous knowledge of Melt, only a clip from YouTube, and a couple of photos to go on, so wasn’t really prepared to now have the whole album at my fingertips, so I could make a more informed opinion of the band.
I needn’t have worried because after I strapped myself in, and pressed play, I was completely blown away, not only by just how enjoyable this album really is, but also by the ease at which I got into it.
By the end of The Secret Teaching Of Sorrow I had myself looking at this album as far more than just an album, but more that of a soundtrack for a gritty thriller, or even some sort of apocalypse film, and reminded me in particular of 28 Days Later, more than anything else.
If pushed to choose one track to try and impress a newbie to Melt, then it would have to be the defining moment that is track eight, Mind. It rumbles in with all guns blazing, and it’s so emotional and relentless in pace, that I can’t help but get caught up in the moment. It is so overwhelmingly energetic, it leaves both my head, and my heart, pounding.
This album has been a real ray of sunshine, and as someone who enjoys a lot of alternative and art rock bands, to come across this little gem has truly been an experience I will cherish…
That isn’t to say that the rest of the album pales in comparison, as that isn’t the case at all, tracks like Moth and Land really showcase Charlotte’s unique approach to vocalising. There are moments of comparison, with the style of KatieJane Garside from art alt band Queenadreena, and Kristen May of Flyleaf, and at times you can literally hear the inner turmoil that’s fighting its way to get out.
Tracks like Hellion drop into Midas Fall territory, which is no bad thing at all, and even on closer Sangria, the overwhelming want to draw from Slowdive is evident. You could easily run this alongside Slowdive tracks Souvlaki Space Station, or pretty much most of the Pygmalion album, and be forgiven for mistaking the two bands.
The real beauty of this album is that it sounds familiar, especially to the alternative indie rock sounds of the nineties, and Melt would so easily slot effortlessly between the likes of Radiohead and Placebo into a playlist, without a battering of an eyelid.
The added beauty on this album is the little intervals, the minutes of instrumental and ambient passages which break up the full-on tracks, as it gives you, the listener, a chance to breathe before the next track kicks in.
This is such a wonderfully laid out set of tunes, it doesn’t start too aggressively, that casually works its way in, and just as it comes to the pinnacle of the chaos, it slowly drops back in pace, and finishes in a more cathartic way, so we, as the listener, can leave, satisfied that we’ve had a complete experience, thanks to Melt.
This album has been a real ray of sunshine, and as someone who enjoys a lot of alternative and art rock bands, to come across this little gem has truly been an experience I will cherish, and listen to multiple times in the years to come.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish