EP Review: Melanie Baker – Burnout Baby

The Breakdown

It's haunting, honest and all together a poetic masterpiece. Baker is shining light in the music industry.

Newcastle-based indie newcomer Melanie Baker has released her new EP ‘Burnout Baby’ via Daemon T.V. the EP follows on from the recent singles  ‘All My Plants Have Died’, ‘I Don’t Cry Like I Used To’, and anthemic latest effort ‘Double Decker Death Machine’ that announce the EPs arrival.

Detailing the origins of ‘Burnout Baby’, Baker revealed: “This EP is about trying to keep up in a fast-paced, success-driven society and struggling with intense burnout. Writing and making this EP has been a slow process of healing for me and now all of these songs serve as reminders to do what I want and be who I wanna be. They’re all almost mantras to me now. When I perform them, it’s like getting to hear the words that I really wanna believe in.

The songs on Burnout Baby took shape when Melanie and drummer/co-producer Josh Jackson decamped to a holiday rental attached to a working lighthouse on the remote Walney Island to record. “I wanted it to feel like a really magical and isolated experience,” she says. “There were loads of birds and rabbits hopping around, it was right by the beach, and it was exactly the kind of setting I wanted to be in.” She and Jackson brought in co-producer Mac Benson, and musicians Jamie Henry (guitar), Millie Hanlon-Cole (guitar) and Robin Koob (strings) to add textures and bring a collaborative spirit to the proceedings. “Everyone that contributed to the EP identifies as queer – which was really important to me, to work with people that I feel like represent my community,” Baker stated.  

Delicate and intelligent ‘This Won’t Be Pretty’ opens the EP in a very lofi, DIY, bedroom, what ever you want to call it, way. Baker is self taught and there is a sense of intimacy within these tracks that only comes with records that are crafted like way. Where the artist has control of every little detail and the songs are nurtured.

Recent single ‘Double Decker Death Machine’ sees the EP start proper with Bakers signature sound of raspy guitar and gorgeous honeyed vocals that flows like silk of the often angular musical backing. Dropping the name of Patti Smith, who Baker is very much a modern equivalent, as Baker comments, “I also need to say that this EP is in a lot of ways inspired by Patti Smith. Her books, interviews and poetry are actually one of the main sources that pushed me to start creating again after a period of not writing or making music, and for that I’m truly grateful to her. To be so inspired by another artist, and to know you might have the same effect on someone else is so powerful. So I keep holding on to the theory that even if these songs can inspire, move or help even one other person, the way Patti did for me, that’s enough.” 

Those angelic vocals dominate ‘Waiting List’ as they deliver some emotively intelligent and introspective lyrics. It’s haunting, honest and all together a poetic masterpiece. The more pop elements with in the tracks, mainly from that gorgeous voice that you can’t help but fall in love with, soothe the gritty punk tones in her music allowing her lyrics to have a greater impact, poetry set to music.

The EP follows on with another single ‘I Don’t Cry Like I Used To’ where Baker really applies her honeyed voice to maximum effect. And with a voice like hers all you need is simple electric guitar to stop the world. Something that the next track and personal highlight of the EP ‘Love Is For Losers’. The duet pairs simple acoustic with some of the most heart destroying vocals put to record.

The punky ‘All My Plants Have Died’ lifts the EP for the closing track with fuzz drenched guitars an the unique lyrical ability that Baker has of comparing life to the ability of looking after plants. Something that a lot of us can relate too. The track descends into a paranoid trip until the tape fails and with that we are left to pick up the pieces of ourselves and get back to life. Or give it another spin.

Poetry set to music is one description, this new EP proves that Baker is a very bright light in the music industry and proof that previous success was not a fluke. There is a natural talent here that’s more than her gifted voice. This is not background music, this is music to listen to, intently, preferably at night, through headphones immersed in the Baker wonderland.

Check out the track Double Death machine, below:

Find out more via Baker’s Facebook

Read our interview with Baker here

Purchase the EP here

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