Drop a needle on Dan Melchior’s Loud Version (Midnight Cruiser) and the blown-out, sturm and drang of distortion and noise shrouding “Hungry Ghost” pours gasoline on a collection of his greatest hits and sets them ablaze.
“Hungry Ghost” hits like a hammer, opening up the record and laying out the blueprint for this spontaneous collection of Melchior’s near-masterpieces rendered with fiery and ramshackle glory.
Primeval cover versions of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers’ “I’m Your Witchdoctor” and Mike Furber and the Bowery Boys’ “I’m Just a Poor Boy” roll out of his guitar like snarling stray dogs looking for a leg to bite. Melchior’s baritone growl captures the garage-swamp tension of a late-night bar scene where camaraderie can and will turn into chaos without warning. It’s an element of Melchior’s rock ‘n’ roll songwriting that’s often tamed by production. Here, songs such as “Outskirts,” “Mockingbird,” and “Monkey” howl without restraint.
Melchior is unquestionably a full-album artist. Each of his releases channel a specific mood — ranging from ambient to ecstatic — as each offering is an individual work. As the story goes, Loud Version was recorded as a batch of demos that were meant to presage an Australian tour, and the compilation of songs unfolds like a perfect set list filled with unhinged teeth-gnashing anthems.
Dedicated followers of Melchior’s releases will find this to be a visceral and raw yet secretly vital run through his most compulsory songwriting; rendered ideally here for both curious onlookers and for casual listeners looking to set their heads on fire.
Loud Version is out March 18 via Midnight Cruiser Records.
➡ Click here to pre-order the album.
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please consider making a donation to RadATL.