It has been noted before, not least by myself, but MELØ makes music that walks a very fine line. Certain aspects of the music cause the listener to recall early synth-pop bands, New Romantic hits and music which, in its day, was able to be both underground and cool and chart-bound and accessible. Then there are the elements that make it clear that this is a song not only of the here-and-now but sitting on the cutting edge of this moment—the perfect blend of familiarity and freshness.
We may have heard these beats before, but now they sound dark and delicious rather than purely functional. The music goes beyond the mere synth manipulation of the past and is a mesh of dance floor sounds and eerie sonic squeals, groovesome basslines and a brass sound that is both bombastic and brutally direct. The whole thing sounds as if he has put a band together from voodoo musicians and vampiric players he found wandering the back streets of New Orleans.
And there is a reason for this bruised and brooding sound, not that it has ever been too far from his musical mind based on previous singles. King of Nothing has a nihilistic and malevolent undercurrent and explores the mindset of those who would light the fuse, stand back, and let the world burn.
His trademark blend of glamour and grit, delicacy and decadence, beauty and beastliness, and a video which, in part at least, pays homage to archetypal villains, real and imagined (echoes of The Joker wander through the narrative) is to the fore. But if the song plays with images of external mayhem and destruction, it is just as much talking about the battle within such people as they battle their egos, insecurities, self-destruction, and personal demons.
As always, the song is excellent. As always, never quite one thing or the other but a heady blend of past and present, with perhaps a glimpse of the future thrown in. As always a blend of dancefloor delight and gothic glam. As always, a combination of polish and poise, darkness and deception.
MELØ is making a name for himself as ushering in a new sound, blending the darkwave sonics of the past, all hook-line and sinister, and the polish and potential of pop future. And King of Nothing is perhaps the most confident stride into that future of his own making yet.
The future is looking so dark, but still, we wear shades!