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Monday, 18 February 2013
Sian Owen

The Bean Pickers Union "Better the Devil"

Inseam Records, 2012

  • Bean pickers producing Americana at its finest

Chuck Melchin is a seasoned musician, who has been playing across the northeast of the United States for over 20 years. His band, The Bean Pickers Union (less of a band and more of a ‘loose collective of musicians from Cambridge and Somerset Massachusetts’), are set to release their second album ‘Better the Devil’ this March – and it’s certainly one to watch.

Melchin has a knack of pulling the heartstrings and hitting where it hurts; all to a storming soundtrack. The Bean Pickers Union are, in short, a bloody good band and 'Better the Devil' is a bloody good album.

His songs are, at times, weighed down with melancholy, at others sexy and seductive. But whatever the mood, Melchin’s storytelling skills are in full throttle. It helps that the music adds a decent groove as well.

Melchin’s bitter-sweet melodies and heartfelt lyrics will have you weeping in your shoes. Yet this album isn’t a massive sob-fest, he just covers the spectrum of human emotion in a believable way. And his poetic turn of phrase really packs a punch. “Newspapers gather in piles, rotting like fish wrap in alleyways, headlines like memories…” (Numb). In fact, every song on this album has at least one moment that stops you in your tracks and makes you sit up and pay attention.

Chuck Melchin has paid his dues and done the rounds, and you can tell in his road-weary songs:  “Longer days and shorter nights, but the hours are just the same. If I don’t get away, I’ll go insane…” (Magnolia). Yep, we all feel like that sometimes… ‘Better the Devil’ is a beautiful, charming album ram-packed full of top notch Americana, spellbinding lyrics and sumptuous melodies. Go out and get yourself some, served with Nachos and extra chilli.


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