Various Artists
Tracks For Horses

By Ed Chamberlin

To celebrate their fifth year and 20th release, the good people at Melodic have put together a 14-track compilation of their bands' best material. And what a diverse bunch they are. The album opens with the fantastic Lick Lokoum by Baikonour. Tape-loop drones, exotic percussion, twinkly melodies and electronic squiggles combine to make something that is avant-garde, but truly beautiful. From here an incredible array of sounds are thrown in. The Memory Band provide a funky jazz-folk piece, Catch As a Catch Can, while the notes fulfil the hip-hop quota with the hilarious, old-time-y It's A Good Thing (feature lyric: 'I like my beats thick like my women'). Audiowhore's Catchphrase-sampling It’s Good But It’s Not Right, is as daft, but compellingly enjoyable as the gameshow it pays homage to. Just consider your neighbours before you play it loud.

Despite being diverse, there is a distinctly pastoral quality to many of these tracks. Gavouna’s Three is an excellent and elegant rhythmic strings and percussion piece, both funky and organic. Flutes, guitars and crisp hip-hop beats accompany oriental string-plucking on Pedro's Folded Arms, and the giddy rush of The Earlies' Bring It Back Again, the only straightahead rock tune on this set, is as rhythmic and beautiful as anything else here.

But the absolute standout is Mrs H, an offering by snappily-named No Talent Kid. Instantly making Daft Punk's entire output redundant music simply doesn’t get any funkier than this. Funk guitars, sexy flutes, female vocals, disco strings and white-hot slabs of bass slither around each other seductively. Mrs H is sleek, sexy, modern, retro, funky and, quite frankly, fucking awesome.

After five years, Melodic has become a serious musical concern. The bands here display rare talent, verve and inventiveness. A thoroughly stimulating listen and like all good label compilations is available at bargain prices.
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