Anyone who has seen MELTS live in recent years will be awaiting the release of their debut album ‘Maelstrom’ with a huge degree of expectation and possibly some trepidation, it’s not every band that can translate such an epic live sound to the studio, but any of those types of fears are blown away by this undulating album.

MELTS came together in 2018, boasting members who formerly graced bands such as Ghost Estates, The Things, The Mighty Stef and The North Sea – Gaz Earle (drums), Robbie Brady (keys/synth), Colm Giles (bass), Eoin Kenny (vocals) and Hugh O’Reilly (guitar). In order to ensure that their debut long player captured the massive and textured sound that they have become known for, they brought Gilla Band’s Daniel Fox in to add his production magic to the mix.

And they set out their stall right from the outset with the mesmerising keys and guitar of the album’s title track. You are instantly swept along with what is an almost overwhelmingly glorious opener. It’s a statement of bravado and intent that continues on Signal which spectacularly delivers on the band’s goal of capturing the audience in “a psychedelic hypnotic vibe”.

Outlier covers you in wave after wave of aggressive guitar, anchored by an entrancing synth sequence, whilst the vocal hovers in the distance as if lost in space and time. Meanwhile, seven-minute opus Circular confidently lurches along with an imposing swagger.

Spectral has an almost dreamlike quality to it, albeit with the band’s ever-present swirling musical tapestry as Kenny pleads “Why do you haunt me? Why do you care?”. One of the album’s highlights is Waltzer, a fantastic piece of post-punk, psyche-rock that draws you in and then hits you time and time again to stunning effect.

Tides, which is as epic in ambition as it is in length concludes the album, its eerie preternatural feel almost suggests pronunciations from on-high, soundtracked by stinging guitar riffs vying with a heaving baseline and etherial organ sounds.

With ‘Maelstrom’, MELTS have crafted an outstanding album that more than delivers on the initial promise of this uber-talented collective, it’s an ambitious, compelling and spellbinding record.