by Joseph Purcell
Now on her third album, California singer songwriter, Melina Duerte, returns with the exceptional Anak Ko. With 2017’s Everybody Works, Duerte remained very much within her own solo shoegaze meets lo-fi dimension. This time, she has bridged out, with a new found zeal for collaboration.
On Anak Ko, Duerte has also emboldened her unique delivery – providing a lush fuller palette on which her dream pop vocal can soar. The intimate feel of previous records has not been abandoned – just honed. Contributing to this new approach on Anak Ko, have been previous collaborator Justus Proffitt, Chastity Belt’s Annie Truscott and Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko.
From the opening track, If You Want It, Duerte has delivered a plush sounding sonic vision – it’s a uniquely enticing record. Shiny synths clash and compliment the lead melody in equal measure, as immaculately placed pockets of percussion buzz against heavy bursts of guitar that evoke the technicoloured hedonism of a Sega Mega Drive soundtrack.
Lead single, Superbike, emits the comforting sound of 90s guitar pop, but managing to stay on the right side of Third Eye Blind and the American Pie soundtrack. Devotion signals Tamko’s involvement on a swirling duet, before the beautiful Nighttime Drive is a delightful centrepiece and album highlight. Followed quickly by the ever-changing spiky tempo of Tenderness – once more highlighting Duerte’s ability to construct gleaming gems of funk pop, that shift in shape and melody as the track evolves.
Anak Ko finds Duerte welcoming the influence of others, while managing to retain her own identity in uncompromising fashion. It is not abound with immediate standouts, but at just 34 minutes long, it’s one that totally engrosses across multiple listens.
Secret Meeting score: 85