16 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

British musicians have always had a knack for assimilating styles from elsewhere. Hailing from the South London neighborhood of Brixton, the twentysomethings in The Melodic (led by songwriter Huw Williams) grew up hearing sounds from their Caribbean and African immigrant neighbors and thought nothing of adding them into a pastoral vision of British (Empire) folk music. On one hand, you have male-female folk vocals that recall Belle and Sebastian, plus plenty of strumming acoustic guitars. But just beyond that is a fluid blend of lush kora textures, lonesome melodica-driven melodies, and snatches of a dozen other acoustic instruments. Along with the heartfelt sentiment of “Ode to Victor Jara,” the most folk part of this band is that nothing sounds plugged in. There's a warm yet meticulous feel to this debut, which was recorded in bedroom studios over the course of several years. Highlights include the bouncy “On My Way” and “Runaway,” as well a the dub-tinged “Watch the World Turn Blue”—but really, there are no bad choices.

EDITORS’ NOTES

British musicians have always had a knack for assimilating styles from elsewhere. Hailing from the South London neighborhood of Brixton, the twentysomethings in The Melodic (led by songwriter Huw Williams) grew up hearing sounds from their Caribbean and African immigrant neighbors and thought nothing of adding them into a pastoral vision of British (Empire) folk music. On one hand, you have male-female folk vocals that recall Belle and Sebastian, plus plenty of strumming acoustic guitars. But just beyond that is a fluid blend of lush kora textures, lonesome melodica-driven melodies, and snatches of a dozen other acoustic instruments. Along with the heartfelt sentiment of “Ode to Victor Jara,” the most folk part of this band is that nothing sounds plugged in. There's a warm yet meticulous feel to this debut, which was recorded in bedroom studios over the course of several years. Highlights include the bouncy “On My Way” and “Runaway,” as well a the dub-tinged “Watch the World Turn Blue”—but really, there are no bad choices.

TITLE TIME
0:52
3:56
4:22
3:42
1:29
2:52
3:10
4:10
1:52
3:12
2:40
4:16
4:49
4:22
1:31
3:15

About The Melodic

The Melodic are a British folk-rock band whose eclectic embrace of a wealth of international sounds, as well as contemporary folk-rock and indie rock, has earned them critical acclaim and a growing fan following on both sides of the Atlantic. The Melodic was founded by principal songwriters Huw Williams and Rudi Schmidt, who grew up in the South London community of Brixton, where they both developed an interest in folk music. Williams grew up listening to his father's recordings of Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, and Bert Jansch, and as a teenager he began exploring the roots of English folk, studying the archives of musicologists Francis Child and Cecil Sharp. Schmidt, meanwhile, was raised in a musical household -- his stepfather was musician and songwriter Nick Pynn, his birth father was a producer who worked with Jah Wobble and Jerry Dammers, and his teenage girlfriend's family had a collection of vintage folk and world music albums that had a major impact on him. At 16, Williams and Schmidt began playing guitar together, and growing up in a multi-cultural community like Brixton, they absorbed sounds from around the world, which had a keen influence on their songwriting. Influenced by friends from South America, Schmidt took up a number of stringed instruments, including the charango, a Bolivian instrument similar to the lute; Schmidt was so passionate about the charango that he traveled to Bolivia to study with its most celebrated advocate, Ernesto Cavour. After returning to Brixton, Williams and Schmidt began putting together the first edition of the Melodic, which in time would include multi-instrumentalist Lydia Samuels and bassist John Naldrett (the latter had previously collaborated with Schmidt on electronic music projects). In 2010, the group built a small recording studio in a house in South London where Schmidt had lived as a child; the soundproofed main performing space used to be his bedroom. After live work earned them a sterling reputation on the British club circuit, the group signed a record deal in May 2013 with the noted American independent label Anti, releasing a debut EP drawn from their home recordings, On My Way, a month later. After several rounds of touring the U.K. and the United States, a full-length album, Effra Parade, followed in November 2013. ~ Mark Deming

  • ORIGIN
    Brixton, South London, England
  • FORMED
    2010

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