It is great to be told about an artist or group you can help out with a project. A few weeks ago on Alternation on NE1.FM (a good show with three wallopers playing random tracks - one of them is writing this now). The album your reading about here is currently on Kickstarter, with the artist aiming to get enough funds to release the album in full. I have been passed 7 tracks by Barry from Alternation to have a listen to and review as a preview of the full album, but as it is not the full album I can only give hints on what is to come. This is not a bad thing and the best way to think about this blog today is that it is a taste of the future. Toxic Melons is the alias of Paul Fairbairn in the same way that The Divine Comedy is the alias of Neil Hannon. Musically this man is very much focus on 60's and 70's pop and is out of time with the modern pop scene; so automatically I am already loving this project just for those reasons alone. So without further ado, here we go....
The first track on the package was "Getting Old" which starts with a string section and double bass; it has a very later day Beatles vibe and a slight leaning towards a Zappa era lyrical style which is always a plus for me. With a trumpet solo and slow style it also feels a bit like the Kinks as well; this is a great track which will already be getting more listens in ATTIWLTMOWOS towers. After this is "Let Me Sleep" that brings to mind Squeeze, again another dose of Zappa (I have no idea if this is by design, but it is there) and a Caribbean vibe for the early feeling of summer which some of us are sorely needing; as someone posted when they were on Alternation, it sound like something acidic being dropped into lemonade. The third track I have here is called "More Or Less" which starts with an organ and piano opening, a bit like Elton John, Squeeze and The Troggs jamming on a new song for historians to uncover; the clever lyrics make this even more appealing, a really impressive number.
"Change The World" is the fourth song here, in a similar sort of vain of "Let Me Sleep" but instead of being based in the Caribbean it has a very Germanic vibe via the west coast of the USA during the hippy 60's. This man has his influences not so much on his sleeves, but more like a big neon sign above his head which goes on all night and day. Then comes "Disco Balls" which is a lovely little tune about someone shiney balls; I laughed very hard with this song, it is not quite as good as "Disco Fool" by Frank Zappa but it is a close second to it. "Not In Love" is the sixth song in this set with is like a sunbeam on a dark day, but the lyrics are all sort of twisted compared to the song. It is the closest that this set gets to the Beatles for me, but it is such a fantastic track. It is an instant classic that should be played every day. Ending the set is "Take Me Back" which is very much in the vein of the Beach Boys. It is a gem of a song that ends this set perfectly.
As it is not the full album I cannot give this a mark at the moment - but I will mark it fully once the full album have been released. I will however give an interim mark and round up. There is a great charm to the music on show here; it gives off a vibe of the past but with a vibe to the future as well. Retro in vibe and fresh in feel I cannot wait to hear the finished work. But if the rest of the album is a half as good as this it could be a surprise contender for independent release of the year. "Not In Love" is already on the list for song of the year - help the man out and join the Kickstarter campaign before it runs out. He is so close to it!!!
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
Best song - Not In Love
You can support the campaign via the Kickstarter campaign here till 26th March
Here is a link to the band's Soundcloud page with a sample of the album...
You can follow The Toxic Melon on Facebook here
The album is not available on Spotify, Deezer or iTunes at time of writing; this will be updated once there has been a change