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Friday, April 17, 2009

Track-by-Track: Melody Club - Goodbye To Romance

On The Run: The album opens with a galloping beat and a hint of the chorus in the background. There's some wonderful, rhythmic guitar work during the verses and the chorus has a very sunny, top-down sound to it. This is a fantastic opening track and only grows with repeated listens.

She's The Girl: This track begins with a sound that's reminiscent of The Cars' Hello Again (itself a great track). In fact, The Cars seem to be a big influence behind the album as a whole. The verses are extremely catchy, but when the chorus hits, the song transforms into something much more inspired by girl and boy groups of the sixties. I love the harmonies--they really make this track stand out.

Where Do I Belong: The most electronic song so far, this is quickly becoming a favorite. A subtle synth hook, reminiscent of Roxette's Wish I Could Fly, runs through the entire thing, and the chorus is one of the best of the album. It's uptempo, but almost feels like a big power ballad.

Girls Don't Always Wanna Have Fun: The first single, and surprisingly one of the weaker tracks on the album. The opening fuzzy guitar riff is a bit of a shock after the last track, but the song fits very well in the context of the album and actually sounds better than it does alone. I don't understand why this isn't the big hit it should be.

Devil In You: Following Sahara Hotnights and The Ark, this is the first Melody Club to use a saxophone. It's a relatively subtle use, and this song as a whole is very classic MC. It could have fit wonderfully on their last album. Super-hyper chorus with equally catchy hooks. It's like Scream, the sequel.

Eighteen: This is the song that's wowing me the most at the moment. It's an absolute anthem, clearly indebted to bands like Cheap Trick, and even Queen. The handclaps are rousing and addictive, and the chorus is an utter stomper. This is huge stuff... rock opera-type music. And just as the song sounds like it's going to end, it explodes with even more fervor. Simple subject matter, as with most of the band's tracks, but delivered flawlessly.

The Only Ones: This is set to be the second single, and I hope it does well. It's comparable to the first track, with it's convertible-ready beat and harmonies. This is world-class pop... simple and classic. I think I like it better than the launch single, but we'll see how time treats it.

Do You Wanna Dance: The 60's infiltrate again with the verse melodies. There's something almost psychedelic about it. This was a grower for me, as I wasn't totally taken on the first listen but I love it now.

High Society Girl: More handclaps right off the bat, building up to a catchy uptempo track that could do well as a single. I think this is the band's most summery album yet, as this is another track that would sound great while driving to the beach.

Oh Candy Call Me: Begins with an organ, which takes me back to Kristofer's days with The Tambureens. In fact, this whole song is a bit of a throwback and doesn't really sound like anything Melody Club have done before. I can't say it's my favorite, but it's still really good.

Not one ballad on this song, which is generally in line with what the band usually get up to. I loved this album immediately, and that love has only increased with repeated listens, so that bodes very well. I wonder if some will be disappointed with the overall rockier sound, though the album's still 100% pop. It's the perfect summer album... great for the beach or park or wherever. I will be playing it into the ground. A

Best tracks: Impossible to choose, but Eighteen is really standing out right now.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Total Awesomeness Alert!!

Melody Club - Goodbye To Romance

You can now stream Melody Club's new album on their myspace. I will be starting to do so now, and I'm sure I'll have a lot to say afterward!

Me going on and on about how brilliant this band is would just be another drop in the already quite large bucket, so I'll forgoe the superlatives and just say that they didn't disappoint this time (and who really thought they would?).

Like their last album, this one seems to be a progression in sound, with an influence on styles of the 60's and 70's. Cheap Trick's shadow looms heavily over this album, and it makes for some thrilling music (though less synth-oriented than before). I think this becomes even more apparent if you go back and listen to their debut and compare it to this.

It's all good, though, because the classic Melody Club songwriting and production is there. And what production!! These guys know how to layer hooks upon hooks upon hooks. Even the pauses between beats are hooks!

I've only given the album one listen so far, but a couple of tracks definitely stood out. Eighteen is a surprising, rocky song that sounds like it was lifted straight from some fantastic rock opera. I didn't know that they had it in them. The saxophone in Devil In You and the wonderfully sung chorus is another highlight, as well as the rollicking, spaghetti-Western beat behind opener On The Run.

She's The Girl combines traditional, synth-style Melody Club with a chorus straight out of a sixties pop group. Lead single Girls Don't Always Wanna Have Fun fits in very well in the context of the album, too, and is one of the rockier tracks. Oh Candy Call Me closes the album with a carnival of sixties-style harmonies, perfect for the summer.

Overall, it's more of a departure for them than I expected, but I am definitely wowed. We'll see how (or if) that impression changes with future listens. For now, thank god we have bands like this in the world!

"It's not too late for a change"

Moneybrother's new album was released yesterday and, like the single, I am very impressed. It's easily his most upbeat album yet and even after a few listens, each song is consistently good. Even if you're not too sure of him as an artist, I'd check it out because I think you'll be impressed. One of my favorite tracks doesn't even sound like him. On Not That Old, he sings in a falsetto that he hasn't really used since the first album. It's very different sounding, almost like something that Prince would do. The music's absolutely pounding, bordering on danceworthy, and the song itself is a defiant anthem... totally dramatic, pump-your-fist-in-the-air stuff. I love how it starts out soft and then explodes with drums and power chords. But nothing compares to the chorus, which only becomes more insistent as the song goes on.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"So what? I kiss and tell"

As if I wasn't already enthralled by American Idol's Adam Lambert, I stumbled upon this pre-idol track last night. If Kiss & Tell is any indication of the type of music he'll be making post-idol, we're in for a big treat. This George Michael-esque electropop track is just what's missing from American music. In fact, Adam Lambert is just what is missing from American music. He alone has made this season of AI so captivating. I mean, he completely took over the show last night... they might as well have just shut it down after his performance. It's like watching an Ola Salo-type performer introduced to the American public. It's highly gratifying, and I pray that he ends up making an album as good as any of the Ark's when all is said and done. For now I will definitely be playing this stellar track and pretending it's his first single. After all, it could easily be a hit right now, and it really should be.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more of his demos here and here--plus tons more.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"You follow in my honour"

Polarkreis 18 are a German electro 5-piece that, in some ways, reminds me of a poppy version of Muse. Like that band, their music is dramatic, huge and defined by atmospherics and a unique male voice. They had a sizable European hit with the anthematic Allein Allein (coupled with a staggering video--viewed over 7 million times!) and The Colour Of Snow is their newest single and the title of their album. It's a very catchy song with some puzzling lyrics and a driving electro beat. It also displays something about this band that I really like. Oftentimes, groups with an immense, icy sound like Polarkreis 18 give into their desire to experiment and end up creating some interesting sounds but not a cohesive, successful pop single. The Colour Of Snow manages to straddle the line perfectly. It's definitely otherworldy, but sounds great on the radio too.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

"This isn't another girl meets boy"

At some point during the middle of last week, I finally got La Roux. I've wanted to like them for a while. The visual aspect is spot on, but Elly Jackson's unique vocals were holding me back. I did quite like Quicksand, mainly due to the synth/tropical backdrop, but In For The Kill didn't hit me for awhile longer. After it (miraculously) kept climbing the British charts, I decided to give it another chance and I am now in love with the song. The rest of the album tracks that have surfaced are very good, too, and now I'm looking forward to the album. One of the tracks that's been stuck in my head for the past couple of days is I'm Not Your Toy. Its sound is very similar to Quicksand (in fact, most of the duo's songs sound quite alike), but it's got an even catchier hook. Plus, Jackson's oddball vocals are in full effect. It's like the soundtrack of an otherworldly new wave jungle.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here.)