Straitjacket Fits - Melt
A very timely reissue of this classic slice of New Zealand indie-rock, and with the band performing dates in Aotearoa and Australia, there's no time like now to (re)discover the greatness of Straitjacket Fits.
A bit of background: It’s 1990 and the Straitjacket Fits are well on their way to conquering the world. The band of Shayne Carter, Andrew Brough, John Collie and David Wood are at peak songwriting and on performance fire. Some say they are the best band in the world. Flying Nun Records in New Zealand knows it and Arista Records agree and sign them for the rest of it.
It’s time to make a new record. Gavin MacKillop is recruited as producer, and Airforce in Auckland, New Zealand chosen as the studio. The result is Melt, a loud guitar complex thing dominated by Shayne Carter’s amplified and distorted guitar vision given light fop pop relief by Andrew Brough.
Melt is an album full of igneous rock majesty. Carter’s ‘Bad Note for a Heart”, “Headwind”, “A.P.S”, “Roller Ride” and “Cast Stone” are all abstractly chiseled boulders of guitar rock greatness and amongst Straitjacket Fits finest work. Andrew Brough’s gem like contributions, “Down in Splendour” and “Hand in Mine”, offer another perspective on another scale. These polished pieces of translucent sparkle are complete in themselves as high pop art and as needed balance and contrast to the monumental crush of Carter's work.
Let us remember that Straitjackets Fits were a band. A band at it’s very best on this album, Melt. As well as writing the songs Carter and Brough are very fine singers and guitarists mutually contributing to each of the songs on the album. At their best the interplay is seductive and key to the creative success of the album. Throughout, the rhythm section of Collie and Wood hold it all together at the heart of the musical maelstrom. Melt is the work of a band at its collective creative height.