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A singer-songwriter from Santa Cruz, California, Melaku makes the sun-drenched music one would expect, mixing in the AM Gold and soft rock he was raised on. Strongly influenced by the music of the 60s and 70s, he creates an electric combination of R&B like The Temptations and classic pop reminiscent of bands like The Beach Boys. His debut, Golden Age, is a seven track EP which will be reissued later as an expanded deluxe edition. Reflecting Melaku’s spirituality, each song corresponds to one of the seven major chakras. Self-produced, Melaku ends up as something slightly akin to a modern Emitt Rhodes, sharing the One Man Beatles’ nuanced pop sensibilities.
One of the most powerful songs on the EP is also the most soulful. “Love You Like A Lion” is straight out of the Motown textbook, and the chorus’ hook will infect you from the beginning. But Melaku is capable of deeper, more introspective moments as well, as on “Lost Your Lover,” and every song finds the artist handling its respective concept with a fresh burst of creativity. Of course, it’s perfectly easy to enjoy the EP without understanding the overarching theme, but it does provide some insight into Melaku’s process. It’ll be interesting to see what the extra songs add to Golden Age, but the EP in its present form is a ready-made, tightly coherent package of unadulterated, artful pop.