(Wax Nine Records)
Melkbelly is Chicago noise-rock quartet who first formed in 2014, put out an EP the same year, and are now arriving with their debut album, Nothing Valley. Melkbelly as a band heavily represent Chicago’s underground scene and are highly influenced by East coast noise and jazz drums. On Nothing Valley, the band channel their inner comic book characters and deliver an emphatic and movie-like performance.
Orderly chaos would be the simplest way to describe Nothing Valley. Whether Melkbelly are marauderously thrashing and pouncing along like on “Middle Of”, or fuzzily hypnotizing you like on “Off The Lot”, there’s always some sort of frenzy. The angry, kid-like lead vocals add a much needed character to the action they supplies, but at times these vocals can be overly muddled and buried in the mix – like on “R.O.R.O.B.” or “Twin Lookin Motherfucker”. Still, the band supplies a ton of badass riffs, breakdowns, and thickly pleasant melodies. The closing tracks on Nothing Valley are among our favorite. On “Cawthra”, Melkbelly are much more easy going, and the sweet and clear vocals are greatly appreciated despite a super abrupt ending. “Helloween” is an extremely well written song, providing a satisfying progression and closer for Nothing Valley.
Nothing Valley feels like the soundtrack to a comic turned action movie. The first single for the album, “Kid Kreative”, is the perfect example of the action-packed atmosphere Melkbelly aggressively establish on Nothing Valley. Similar to a lot of movie soundtracks, Nothing Valley plays the role of being both emotive and atmospheric filler. “Petrified” is one track that would almost definitely fall into the “atmospheric filler” role. One song that stands out as an experimental success is “R2PCM”, with hyper-speed drumming and a warping atmosphere, the interlude track is nicely placed onto the later half of Nothing Valley, feeling like a 7th inning stretch.
Aside from a few tracks that feel redundant or like a sidetrack for Nothing Valley, Melkbelly present a thrilling journey filled with hectic riffs, loose drumming, and most noticeably, consistency and character. Overall, Nothing Valley is an enjoyable album if you can weather the frenzy and at times weirdly mixed vocals to see through to the fun loving but slightly psychotic character Melkbelly have to offer.