Gurf Morlix - Melt Into You

Rootball Records


The latest addition to Gurf Morlix’s hugely impressive body of work, MELT INTO YOU, is his 15th full-length studio album. By this point, most artists have long since run out of words to say or ways to say them. His longevity in the business speaks to his deep creative-well and his determined and inventive sonic exploration. Music, at its best, gives an opportunity to explore the questions that most haunt the human heart. The exploration becomes mutual, allowing both artist and listener to feel less alone. At this juncture, more than 20 years after he first established his listener base, Gurf has become renowned for playing a primitive, angsty, menacing form of Americana. This record is a complicated listening experience that successfully hones in on the essence of his source material while also serving as a logical thematic successor to his previous releases. Gurf’s brand of tetchy abrasion feels very of the moment—it sits comfortably alongside the music used in the Peaky Blinders TV series—but the integral point of difference is that he is an eerie conjuror in the midst of his angular noise. This music isn’t supposed to be mannered and reverent. It’s meant to be delivered from the soul, the bones, the dirt, the hands, the heart. It’s at its best when it’s dirty, raw, lowdown, at least just a little manic, unhinged. If you’re not lucky enough to catch it live in a roadside juke joint (which is less and less likely these days), it sounds best when it’s coming from another room on an old transistor radio barely tuned into the station, where the static is just as present as the music. Or creeping through the trees from an unknown direction on a moonlit night down a dark, lonely dirt road. Or maybe in a smoke-filled pool hall (very unlikely these days) where the longing, bluesy vocals and guitar are barely audible over the breaking of the balls and the clinking of the bottles. Failing those options, listen with headphones. In a dark room. With the volume turned up!

Mixing a roots rock sensibility with a touch of danger, Gurf stomps, hollers, moans and croons in a gravelly voice and plays notes on his guitar beyond the sensical or what’s appropriate, but that’s the beauty of his music. Switchblade Smile, is a propulsive rocker, in which he makes a romantic plea to an obstinate lover. His vocal is deeply branded with this song’s quirky vision, an abiding hope (heard in several neatly disguised sighs) of one day reaching a place where they will come together. The weird and sinister Melt Into You is full of devilish eroticism as Gurf firmly establishes himself as a razor-sharp chronicler of forbidden pleasure and hardboiled lust. He delivers In The Name Of Love. a richly detailed story of misery, with an unguarded, dark power, as he bemoans the futility of remaining in a slowly dying marriage. If you’re in need of a reminder that you’re not alone, and your misery needs company, this is it!

Beautiful Sad Face is the understated showstopper, disguised as a tender love song, but is actually the nostalgic aftershocks of a breakup that crawls deep into darkness, before finally finding some light in the melancholic memories. Then there’s the exotic Sand, with an Eastern soundscape wrapped around the thoughtfully philosophical lyrics; the downright hypnotic fit of paranoia on Last Days Of The Dinosaur, his sinister guitar distortion drives his vocals into reckless territory. Finally, he concludes with A Meaningless Life, a moving narrative that sums up how inconsequential our lives are. The song casually saunters towards a personal confessional that’ll leave you gasping for air. A stunning, often intense set, that this early in the year, is surely in the running for best Americana album of 2024.

January 2024