Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Melee “The Masquerade”

“The Masquerade” is the latest from Melee, a hugely talented pop rock band from Orange County, California. The record is the long-awaited sequel to the masterful “Devils and Angels” from 2007. “The Masquerade” follows in the tradition of “Devils and Angels”, delivering more synth-driven pop rock with Chris Cron’s soaring vocals.

In many ways, the music of Melee sounds a lot like the 80s – they manage to use synths without sounding cheesy, and produce dance ready music that can still be enjoyed by those who can’t shake a leg to save their life (like me). The title track eases us back into the world of Melee, conjuring up images of Keane. The song is a pleasant and catchy invitation to the record, but the high energy Melee steps up to the plate next with the awesome “Girls Wanna Rock”, which features one of the most infectious choruses this time out. “On The Music Screen” (video below) gears back down to a mid-tempo pace, resulting in a pretty radio friendly track, but not the strongest effort on the album. “The Ballad Of You and I” obviously slows things down even more – a sweet but relatively boring song. I find “Freeze” to be a much more compelling ballad, and “Someday You’ll Be a Story” is awe-inspiring. “You won’t know peace without a fight” is a sample of the lyrical gems you’ll find in this beautiful, sweeping opus. Some of the additional standout tracks include “Wedding Dress”, “What Good Is Love (Without You)”, and “Towers”. In short, I found the back half of the record to be better than the first.

In general, the band crammed in a lot of slower tracks on their latest effort, but they are no less catchy and enjoyable. Not sure this one is better than “Devils and Angels”, but that is a high bar to surpass. “The Masquerade” is available on CD overseas, but in American you have to go to iTUNES to get it for now.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Melee on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for “On The Music Screen”: