[sic] Magazine

Carlton Melton – Resemble Ensemble

After several excursions into intangible mind-massage and droning drift, and then several hot and heavy flirtations with a return to amped-up, instrumental space-RAWK, you’d be forgiven for not quite knowing which Carlton Melton is going to turn up on Resemble Ensemble, particularly as the usual trio is now joined by Anthony Taibi of the similarly wild White Manna for the first time. The answer – pleasingly – is all iterations of the band, past and future, including the curveball version that wasn’t afraid to incorporate buzzed-out piano bliss on Where This Leads, and which is now confident enough to pit electro-punk synth patterns against crunching guitar fragments on “High Alert”. It’s a statement quite unlike anything the Northern Californian woodsmen have done before, melting guitar tones righting the course, before proggy, high-end fret-love blasts us back to the 70s.

Altogether more timeless, the zen seven minutes of “Elsewhere (Need To Be)” ebb and flow on distant shores, sun-dappled licks another nod to the horizontal day-dreaming of Ripley Johnson. The yin to that track’s yang, “So The Story Grows” follows in solemn echo, its isolated percussion and forlorn feedback forming a dark side of the moon dronescape. Coming on all kosmische in turn, the deep zoning “Prescribed Skies” is saturated in static, cosmic FX pulling at the fabric of its ticking repeats, guitar flares toasting the nose cone as Carlton Melton churn their craft through the gears, circadian rhythms jammed out by the subconscious, the big guns arriving with heavy solos that arc like a proton beam down some unstable wormhole. The gently stoned easy-rider “Route Thirteen” later brings you back down to earth with the wind in your hair, a hirsute dose of R’n’R aftercare after safe words were earlier left unused, comforting engine-hum rumbling towards unknown horizons.

Best track: “Prescribed Skies”

~Resemble Ensemble is released 17th February 2023 via Agitated Records.~