Melkbelly – Nothing Valley Review

Loud, nasty, and nineties.
Wax Nine Records, 2017
Purchase: Bandcamp / Amazon

6.5 / 10

It’s noisy, it’s loud, and it’s nineties. That should be enough to sell you on Melkbelly‘s debut LP Nothing Valley. If it’s not, I suppose I can write a little more about it. Melkbelly is a fourpiece from Chicago that mixes some of the lovely college-radio melodies of the ’90s with sludgy guitar riffs. Melkbelly sounds like a truck revved up and scattered gallons of mud on the band right before they played their opening notes. Nothing Valley is too dirty to be punk, but it has too much energy to be formal sludge rock.

When I started thinking about how I wanted to write this up, I planned on going an entire review without mentioning Speedy Ortiz. And yet here I am. The comparison would be shallow and obvious. A ’90s-revival band with loud electric guitars fronted by women? But it’s a good comparison. So good, in fact, that Melkbelly has toured quite a bit with Speedy Ortiz. And if you’re like me, and will fight to put your ears on anything by Speedy Ortiz, you’ll get some mileage out of Nothing Valley. But the difference between the two is that Ortiz has better, clearer melodies. It makes their songs more immediately engaging and memorable. As for Melkbelly, they have all the same ingredients, and while I would love to root for them, they’re a more difficult recommendation.

Key Tracks:
“Off the Lot”