Review of Melanculia's Seventh Circle by Stuart Turnbull

There's a sweet and fragrant thought that constantly circulates my deep mind as I let this set of compositions drift from the speakers to my aura. I'm bathed in a warm, smooth, folky, darkwave gothic soundscape… it flows effortlessly across the airwaves and speaks softly of happy encounters. This is entitled Seventh Circle by Melanculia... a side project of Nino of Aeon Sable.

Glued together over several years and revisited over and over again as new ideas demand their registration upon the album. In beginning, I would perhaps describe the whole project as a work of tortured genius, an outpouring of emotion that falls comfortably into that gap between hippie and folk-gothic. An exploration of those deeper feelings that fight to rise above the obvious urges to express one's self via pop or outright rock composition.

The opening salvos from this album tickle the senses and take you on a trippy voyage through vales of folk rock and wraps you up in swathes of synthetic sounds. There's an obvious comparison to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds here... Póvoa de Varzim and beyond. The Secret Temple shines brightly... cantering over the horizon bringing reminders of The Mission, solo Hussey and even The Bunnymen. For me, the stand out track from the album… dancing barefoot around the room. Lucifer drags me down, down back to planet Earth with its powerful retro building blocks. The retro feel is perfectly etched upon the structures herein and even validated in the lyric "The man that don't get old".

There can be no doubt that the musicians and the producer of this record have arranged the tracks in such an order that there is no possibility of boredom, of inertia... more an excited anticipation of where it all goes next. The Spiritual Garden revisits that darkly, folky, gothic residence... A question asked but never quite answered, a feeling of wanting second helpings. I find myself intrigued, I read the listing and see three tracks coming next: Psychonaut, Message In A Bottle and Marian. Try as I do, I cannot escape my brain's constant attempts to inject the obvious sounds and lyrics before the songs begin.

No, no there are no covers here.... only a triplet of fine compositions that equally deserve their titles. I would here admit though that Marian really does have a nice aura of latter day Sisters about it!! Not an accusation with malice aforethought but more a nod to the excellent song by said band.

The final two tracks of Melanculia are worth the wait. Zombie comes bouncing off the walls, crashing into the psyche with its pomp and circumstance, a classy post-punk animal that has just escaped the cage of classic The Cramps era sassiness. You get the feeling that this track was thrown in here to warn you, to ensure you know the score, to stab you...not in the back, but full frontal assault. Pick yourself off the floor and be met and seduced by the final offering... Witching Hour. A long composition that reveals its true self as it progresses. Waves of electro-pop mix with clever acoustic and electric appendix to the album, a summing up if you will... this is where we started, this is where we end, this a journey charted, and all that we intend.

In conclusion this a one of those perfect late night chill out albums, a dark trippy voyage of eccentricity and sweet promise.

A voyage you'll need to take again and again....go on, I challenge you.

by Stuart Turnbull

Also View: Crow Xp's Interview with Melanculia