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Review: Young Magic’s ‘Melt’

Album artwork by Leif Podhajsky

I want to preface this by saying I saw Young Magic perform with Youth Lagoon at Crescent Ballroom on Nov. 4, and it was magical.

I remember Young Magic’s set as the bass-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach, eyes-closed, uncontrollable-swaying, this-is-the-exact-reason-I-go-to-shows kind of good. Saying you just had to be there feels empty in comparison to the awesome that is a Young Magic live performance.

That being said, the album didn’t live up to the high expectations set by the live show. I turned the songs all the way up, playing with the bass and subs, trying to recreate the total body experience and emotion I felt on Nov. 4. But it just wasn’t happening. The feelings belonged in the moment. For that reason, to me, the album is bittersweet.

Isaac Emmanuel and Michael Italia, both from Australia, individually traveled the world playing music in a range of countries including Mexico, Germany, England, Brazil and Argentina. The duo converged in New York where Indonesian vocalist Melati Malay was recording her own music. The two became three and Young Magic was born. The trio’s debut LP Melt will be released Feb. 14 on Carpark Records.

The album opens with “Sparkly,” a melodic, dreamy tune with a  jangling hook that – surprise, surprise – had me hooked. “Sparkly” is the perfect intro. It warms the listener’s ears for Malay’s beautiful voice with Emmanuel’s almost rap-like vocals, the synths, drums and African-inspired rhythms they are about to hear.

The album’s second track, “Slip Time,” jumps right in, launching with a captivating beat that can’t be listened to quietly. It leads directly into “You With Air,” a track you’re likely to sing along with.

In classic dessert-before-dinner fashion, these three opening songs are my favorite on the 11-track album. At first listen, those tracks, along with “Night In The Ocean,” are the ones I find myself anticipating each time I play the album. But don’t be fooled, there’s more than a four-track depth to Melt. The more I listen, the more I appreciate and enjoy the album as a whole.

Melt is not an album you just listen, or sing your heart out to in your car. It’s an album you feel, an experience. Give it a chance and I think you’ll be surprised. And if you ever get the opportunity to see them perform live, don’t hesitate, just do.

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