Steve Wynn – Melting in the Dark [Expanded Edition] (1996/2020)

Posted by Green on November 4, 2020as

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Out on his own since the 1989 breakup of highly influential paisley underground act the Dream Syndicate, Steve Wynn spent the 1990s pursuing a solo career. While 1991’s Dazzling Display found the singer incorporating both strings and horns into the mix, and 1994’s self-produced Fluorescent seemed at times to head for the country, Melting in the Dark is a stylistic regression of sorts. Back in the production seat, Wynn is joined by Boston’s Come for a batch of songs propelled by layers of gritty guitar rather than a delicate strum. The album announces its intentions from the opening snarl of “Why,” a near-rockabilly number with drummer Arthur Johnson pounding away at his kit beneath the clamor. A guitar solo opts for a series of fractured textures over a conventional melody. The set opener is followed by the icy pop of “Shelley’s Blues, Pt. 2” and the feedback trails and train-like rhythms of “What We Call Love.” Wynn’s admiration for Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground is made explicit on a handful of occasions. On both “The Angels” and “Silence Is Your Only Friend,” he even sounds like the man himself. The former could be an outtake from New York, Wynn adopting Reed’s dry, half-spoken/half-sung delivery, while the latter resembles the Velvets circa 1969. More often than not, however, such influences are better disguised and, as a result, more natural. The lack of tunefulness begins to wear as the album progresses, but otherwise the return to a stark, visceral, guitar-driven sound suited Wynn well.

Tracklist:

01. Steve Wynn – Why
02. Steve Wynn – Shelley’s Blues, Pt. 2
03. Steve Wynn – What We Call Love
04. Steve Wynn – Drizzle
05. Steve Wynn – The Angels
06. Steve Wynn – Epilogue
07. Steve Wynn – Silence Is Your Only Friend
08. Steve Wynn – Stare It Down
09. Steve Wynn – Smooth
10. Steve Wynn – For All I Care
11. Steve Wynn – The Way You Punish Me
12. Steve Wynn – Down
13. Steve Wynn – Melting in the Dark
14. Steve Wynn – Follow Me (Unreleased Radio Performance)
15. Steve Wynn – James River Incident (Unreleased Demo)
16. Steve Wynn – Shelley’s Blues, Pt. 2 (Unreleased Demo)
17. Steve Wynn – Smooth (Unreleased Demo)
18. Steve Wynn – Down (Unreleased Demo)
19. Steve Wynn – Nothing at All (Unreleased Demo)
20. Steve Wynn – Nothing But the Shell (Unreleased Demo) (feat. Eric Ambel)
21. Steve Wynn – Silence Is Your Only Friend (Unreleased Demo)
22. Steve Wynn – Stare It Down (Unreleased Demo)
23. Steve Wynn – Swallowed Me Whole (Unreleased Demo)
24. Steve Wynn – The Angels (Unreleased Demo)
25. Steve Wynn – What We Call Love (Unreleased Demo)
26. Steve Wynn – What Would It Take (Unreleased Demo)
27. Steve Wynn – Why (Unreleased Alternate Version) (feat. The Pat Thomas Band)
28. Steve Wynn – The Air That I Breathe
29. Steve Wynn – James River Incident (Studio Outtake)
30. Steve Wynn – Make It Up to You (Unreleased Studio Outtake)

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