Melodic, creative, and almost giddily appealing, “Melvista,” is as assured a slice of 21st-century indie rock as I’ve heard in a while. Despite its retro-y veneer, and Fuller’s obvious embrace of a certain sort of ’60s/psychedelic look, “Melvista” gushes with contemporary flair. Even the Beatlesque chord progressions at the center of its seductive chorus (first heard around 0:35) feel tweaked and updated in some ineffable and ebullient way. Also, check out the drumming, which manages to feel very ’60s and very ’10s at the same time.
So, do understand that by “contemporary flair” I do not mean the addition of meaningless aural frippery in the cynical pursuit of distracted teenagers—I’m talking instead about an awareness of how the present moment is always a cumulative outgrowth of history rather than some kind of context-free instant of existence driven by lizard-brain reflex. Being willing to funnel sounds of the past through one’s 2016 consciousness (not to mention one’s 2016 audio equipment) is in my mind a far more reliable way to create something truly of the here and now than a slavish adherence to sound-fads of any particular moment. This is exactly why music that too rigidly clings to production choices that are very “now” paradoxically becomes the music that sounds most dated in another five or 10 years.
That said, slavish adherence to past sounds is of course an equally if not more unconvincing way to sound current. Maybe one of the reasons “Melvista” song escapes the gravitational pull of its inspirations is how effortlessly Fuller combines the sounds and vibes of distinct subgenres into a cohesive whole. Which is to say that “Melvista” is not merely Beatlesque—its roots can be found as well in glam rock, garage rock, and (here’s kind of the kicker) new wave. As a matter of fact, the song unfolds as a bit of a history lesson, its British invasion elements craftily transformed in plain sight by new wave injections beginning at 2:08: first, the verse is reimagined with a Cars-ish minimalism; next comes that synth-like guitar line (2:29), which culminates and then closes out the song, the likes of which ran through any number of late-’70s songs on both sides of the Atlantic and doubtlessly in Australia as well.
Originally from Perth, where he played in a series of bands, Wesley Fuller moved to Melbourne a couple of years ago. “Melvista” was his first release as a solo artist, initially out in February as a single and in July resurfacing as the title track on his debut five-song EP, released by the London-based 1965 Records. Thanks to the good folks at the Powerpopulist blog for the head’s up here, and thanks to the Austrlian music site Triple J Unearthed for the MP3.