Composer and producer G-Spliff brings in a bevy of female singers for his full-length debut MY MELANCHOLIC GIRLS, recalling the dark-hued electronica of Portishead and Morcheeba on songs like "Sad About Nothing."
Despite his ganja-centric handle, G-Spliff's debut album has little to no dub reggae influence. True to its title, however, My Melancholic Girls is a solid collection of mostly minor key pop songs with female vocals and an overall sense of tristesse. The arrangements are surprisingly lush for this sort of electro-pop, along the lines of latter-day Saint Etienne. Even relatively beat-driven songs like "What'd I Do Wrong?" have a gentleness and languor about them, but most of the album consists of dreamy lost-love ballads like "Keep the Silence" and "Won't Part." The album's pinnacle comes late with the glorious "Sad About Nothing," which raises up from the slightly monochromatic gloom of the preceding ten tracks for a feeling closer to what the Brazilians call "saudade," or pleasurable melancholia. With a sweeping chorus that's the strongest on the album, "Sad About Nothing" is both emotionally complex and instantly musically appealing, and pulls My Melancholic Girls, at least for four minutes, out of its pretty but comparatively one-note sulk. ~ Stewart Mason