- 06 Oct 23
Superb collection from Irish R&B performer
On Melina Malone’s Aphrodite, the air is dense with Greek Myth and unapologetic femininity. The Dubliner has been drip-feeding singles since 2019 and her first full-length offering firmly establishes her as one of Ireland’s freshest acts.
An audiophile’s wet dream, the production on Aphrodite is near immaculate, full of sonic Easter eggs and meticulous attention to detail. The stereo panned and delayed ASMR vocals on ‘Tender Interlude’ will genuinely make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, while the phased wah-bass on ‘Lovers Sunday’ is funky enough to make Thundercat turn his head.
The album sounds distinctly Mediterranean - the sweeping strings on the opener ‘Naive’ wouldn’t seem out of place in a Fellini movie. Speaking of ‘60s cinema, Malone flexes her bilingual chops with a version of the Hellenic classic ‘Ti Ein Efto’ - originally popularised after it was sung by Sophia Loren. Malone’s rendition sums up the LP - a proud representation of the artist’s roots, which when combined with a modern approach, creates something wholly unique.
Female empowerment is the album’s nucleus, perhaps most evident in ‘Goddess,’ as Malone declares, “You need me so much more than I ever needed you/ Darling can’t you see you no longer make the rules”.
The production trio of Adam Shanahan, Alex O’Keefe and Malone herself, have undeniably raised the benchmark for Irish R&B.