Devils & Angels

Written by: PP on 27/06/2007 01:38:37

For a band responsible for initiating a massive bidding-war between several different major labels after their departure from an independent label, Melee's sound is surprisingly tame and straightforward to warrant such large-scale interest. But who am I kidding, the major labels have always been the first in line to spend millions of dollars on worthless pop rock bands that against all odds seem to be selling millions of records to the gullible mainstream music buying public (Keane anyone?). You see, the problem with Melee and their major label debut "Devils & Angels" isn't that every song is a crappy uninspiring pop rock song. Nope. Its problem is that almost every song is a crappy uninspiring pop rock song, aside from a few gems where the band has actually dared (been allowed to?) take some risks instead of laying out safe bet after safe bet. To put it in more sensible words, the rest of the album simply takes a large dump on top of anyone who actually wants their music to have any substance whatsoever. It is major label crap at its most standard formula with a few catchy singles and rest filler.

I won't blame you if the introductory paragraph makes me sound like an elitist pop rock hater, but this couldn't be further from the truth. I appreciate the sense of melody bands like Dashboard Confessional and Ben Folds Five have, and how they are able to integrate some meaningfulness into their music through some great songwriting. And there are times on "Devils & Angels" where Melee does just that. "Freq. Baby", for instance, is a high-octane pop rock song with frantic piano passages and a bunch of catchy "Woo-hoo's" and sublime vocal melodies from singer Cron, while "For A Lifetime" would be an incredibly cheezy ballad if it wasn't for its ridiculously catchy chorus and Coldplay-esque piano in the verses. But the majority of the album falls on its face for being just too god damn simple and uninteresting. "Drive Away" sounds like a Keane b-side and "Imitation" fits perfectly into the major label pop rock model that has been recycled far too many times in the past decade. I'm quite sure that the vocal melody in the introduction to "Love Carries On" has been sampled from another famously uninspiring track that rotated around MTV back in the day when the channel actually played music videos, but I just can't put my tongue on exactly which one.

In summary, "Devils & Angels" is a dream album to any major label. It has a couple of absolutely amazing songs destined to receive hours upon hours of airplay, guaranteeing the album's success in Nielsen SoundScan statistics, and they are easy to pick out because the rest of the album is just filler. But the mainstream music buying public couldn't care less for that because they only ever hear the singles anyway. So unless Keane and Stereophonics are your favorite bands, I recommend sticking only to downloading the songs mentioned below from iTunes or a similar music store.


Download: Freq. Baby, For A Lifetime
For the fans of: Keane, Stereophonics
Listen: Myspace

Release date 03.04.2007
Warner Bros

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