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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Melismatics - Rising Tide

The Melismatics - Rising Tide
2013, Pravda Records

The Melismatics are the latest exports born of the long tradition of quirky Indie rock bands from Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The band caught the attention of college radio early on with their debut album Postmodern Rock.  Since then the music of The Melismatics has been featured on television shows such as The Hills,  Laguna Beach and The City.  The Melismatics are at it again in 2013 with Rising Tide, a unique mix of fuzz and pop featuring the distinctive voices of Ryan Smith and Pony.

Rising Tide opens with the moody pop of "Crawl, Baby, Crawl". A Low-Fi production style makes this seems a bit messy around the edges, but there's a finely honed 80's new wave pop sensibility underneath it all.   "Halo" is a simple and loosely constructed pop rocker thats a solid album track. "Delirium" combines new age philosophies about harmony with blatant musical dissonance to middle one message or the other. It's never entirely clear which message is meant to carry mud, but the song itself turns out to be a messy listening experience. 

The Melismatics rediscover their rough hewn pop sound on "Cocoon", a mildly danceable number with a simple, sing-along chorus. Things slow down for "Close 2 The Vest" and "Gravity", both of which are on the bland side. "If You Want War" is a stripped down musical monologue that's very well written. Ryan Smith takes this one solo and does a nice job, although the evident electronic enhancement note vocal line is disappointing. 

The Melismatics spend the rest of Rising Tide bouncing back and forth between eclectic fuzzy pop and bland  songs with navel haze tendencies. The standout track on the album is "Looking For Trouble", a potential breakout tune in spite of its off-kilter construction. The other keeper is the title track, which closes out the album with a bit of pop refinement and some sweet vocal harmonies. 

The Melismatics occasionally touch brilliance on Rising Tide. The occasionally dose of pop refinement mixed with the band’s garage sensibilities is appealing.  The second half of the album relies primarily on bland filler, however, suggesting that Rising Tide was perhaps a great EP dragged down by the desire to make a full length album. There are definite gems here, but you’ll need to dig a bit.

Rating: 3 Stars  (Out of 5)

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