The Meltdown present their second LP ‘It’s A Long Road’, a wistful and uplifting journey through dusty, countrified soul music and tender, reflective songwriting. Led by vocalist, keyboard player and producer Simon Burke, the band is understated but deft throughout, letting the songs and Simon’s golden voice do the heavy lifting. The band stick to a sonic palette reminiscent of golden era Southern soul studios from Memphis to Muscle Shoals and in that tradition there’s as much as country-soul and blues in the mix as there is soul and funk. Of particular interest to fans of Durand Jones and the Indications, Lee Fields and Tedeschi Trucks,
Bandleader, vocalist, producer and multi instrumentalist Simon Burke led the creation of this record from his home base in Avenel, Victoria, not far from the most-locked-down-city-in-the-world of Melbourne. Recorded over the course of the pandemic, ensemble recording was difficult if not impossible and on nearly half of the record Simon played every instrument himself, while his band was trapped inside the ‘ring of steel’ that encircled metro Melbourne. Throughout 2020 and 2021, in between his day job as an air ambulance pilot and raising a young family, Simon put down demo rhythm section takes on drums, bass and guitar to send to his band. When session after session was canceled, the demos became the record. It’s a mark of his musicianship that it’s genuinely difficult to tell the difference.
The album starts on the cruisy but quietly anthemic Tell You Not To Worry and picks up for the rolling triplet feel of River, featuring a blazing saxophone solo from Meltdown co-founder Lachlan McLean. Standout guest slots from Emma Donovan on the title track and Liz Stringer on Not The Only Love give the album additional emotional and musical depth. There’s a broad range of vocal and instrumental stylings, but always within the boundaries of tasteful understatement with subtle-yet-lush production that straddles the line of soul, blues and country-soul. Simon’s voice ranges from falsetto to full voiced occasionally touching that gritty goodness and guitarist Tom Martin (The Putbacks) gets crunchy but never screamy. It’s a deceptively simple record, beautifully put together by a very experienced band and the quality shines through. It’s a Long Road is available everywhere on Hopestreet Recordings from July 15th on LP CD and all online platforms.
It’s A Long Road is available worldwide on July 15th through Hopestreet Recordings.