The Eden Project – Melissa Black (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Pop doesn’t have to be a dirty word, not if it is done properly, and I have to say that Melissa Black knows how to do pop properly. The Eden Project, her latest 5 track album, is all the proof that you should need. She manages to distil the genre down to its essentials – deft and infectious songwriting, addictive beats, supple and subtle melodies and more hooks than a Peter Pan theme night. And what she leaves behind is just as important for here you won’t find any pop-cliches, zeitgeist friendly gimmickry or nods to fad and fashion. This is what pop music used to be and can be again.

As the title suggests there is an elemental nature to the music, the lyrics are strewn with references to the natural world, the intangible forces that guide us, the world not made by man. The lush textures displayed on Of Mountains & Sea remind me of 10,000 Maniacs, another band who understood that pop is a rewarding place to work so long as you don’t get bogged down trying to conform to the industry template.

The title track is a gentle, lilting slice of gorgeousness, Rainbow is a gossamer light shimmering piece and Red Blood Moon even introduces some darker, brooding tones into its clever sonic layering. A great reminder that pop music can be smart, lyrically astute and, most of all, mature.

Pop music, it’s wasted on the kids if you ask me.

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