July 27, 2008
Maxwell withholds, Melo gives
It is no secret that I'm disappointed by the narrow path of recent American r'n'b/soul. The best of that style tends to be exported from the UK these days. And now Land Of All Good Pop, Sweden. I discovered Melo by accident. His full name is Nils "Melo" Tull and his debut, Off My Chest, is getting a lowkey release this week in the UK.
His PR pack mentions Marvin Gaye, but I hear more Stevie Wonder and Maxwell. There is some actual musicianship going on here; I like the bass-heavy sound mixed with layered harmonies. It's uber smooth. What Have We Got To Lose, Forever and What's New are standouts for me, while the upbeat Too Good has a reference to Vanity 6's Nasty Girl. The fingersnap-beat ballad Real Slow is the first video (below). It's not my favorite because it's closer in spirit than the rest of the album to... say... R Kelly. Closing ballad Anything Like Me is much better. This is exactly the kind of sound that should return to US radio - simplicity in arrangement (with a jazzy bent) and a focus on vocals on pure vocals with one note per syllable.
You can buy Off My Chest now via iTunes UK, US and Sweden
Melo Real Slow:
If you don't like this tune, be sure to hear some of his other tracks on myspace before you decide.