The Melodic: Effra Parade

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The Melodic
The Melodic
Effra Parade
(Anti-)
Rating: 3 stars

“Roots are not something you lay/but something you take on your way,” go the opening lyrics of “Hard to Find” on the Brixton UK folk group’s debut. And true to those words, this is an eclectic foray into acoustic music that makes world beat stops in Afro pop, reggae, dub, South American and even a bit of their home turf’s traditional folk music.

To help the process, the multi-instrumentalist five piece invites over a dozen extra musicians who bring their talents on instruments as horns, flute, cello, oboe and viola among many others to the process. Add flawless harmonies and the result of all of this cross-pollination is a lush, lovely pillow of sound, perfectly produced with immaculate sonic qualities.

But somewhere in the development of this sweet and well, melodic multi-genre approach, the soul is MIA. That leaves this as beautifully fashioned, classy and meticulously crafted background music, perfect for Sunday brunch among the NPR crowd. Or perhaps as quality nursery room filler for a newborn. It’s particularly disappointing since the band shares a label with Tom Waits, Neko Case, Calexico and others whose inherent edginess is a major element of their style.

There is much to admire on this unique first album, especially since the Melodic is working with diverse, cross cultural instrumentation that few other acts even attempt. They just need a capable producer to keep the raw elements in the mix and stop them from sanding off the rough edges to broaden their appeal.

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