The Melomaniacs—lyricist Mike Martin on vocals and guitar, Kim Murray on guitar and Paul Silver on keyboards—have collaborated with filmmaker Lee Archer and photographer Jean-Luc Fievet to recreate through music and visuals what Martin introduces as their journey last summer through some of the good- and the badlands of America.
The mellow music and deep vocals accompany, at first, a view from a vehicle speeding through the desert, which then takes to the roads of a city (I think Las Vegas) before introducing more abstract images and repetition into the mix, with clips from old films combined with the footage from last year.
It does work well, although I found the images so mesmeric that I wasn't paying much attention to the lyrics of the songs, which are all very laid-back in style and tempo. An hour was a bit much at this pace for me, and, with no narrative in the film to draw the audience along, I was longing for a change in tone to add some variety.
The three skilled musicians create some interesting soundscapes, getting some unusual combinations of sounds from limited instrumentation.
Unfortunately, the performance I saw was poorly attended and not all stayed till the end. A larger, more appreciative audience would have greatly improved the atmosphere. Do check out the band's web site and take a look at their show if their music appeals to you. This is a slick show from talented artists who deserve a more appreciative audience.
Reviewer: David Chadderton