Mêlée: Devils & Angels

[28 May 2007]

By Andrew Blackie

It is somehow ironic that Mêlée are a quartet from the Orange County, indulging in a delightfully smart and smooth college-rock that makes them come off the ideal mix of Semisonic and Ben Folds, and distant relatives of indie geniuses The Format. There’s no denying that Devils & Angels is concerned mostly with the dating game, or that its set of ultra-catchy tunes follow two blueprints—upbeat heart-throbs or swelling love songs, but it’s hard to fault their brand of pop for being inoffensive when it’s as listenable as this. “Rhythm of Rain”, “Drive Away” and “Built to Last”, the latter accompanied by a cute beyond belief video (see below), are set around acoustic guitars, brimming piano and lavish vocal ‘aahs’; while “Frequently Baby” wastes no time becoming the energized, kind of embarrassing disco-rock that hasn’t been heard since the ‘80s. Furthermore, pianist Chris Cron’s soulful singing befits Mêlée with the perfect mood and personality to make their music sincere, and in no small way influences the relaxed humor of clever lyricisms… “This was supposed to be he my hit song, but then I wasted it all on you”, for example, or “It’s you in my arms tonight / I don’t need an imitation / I just want the real creation.” Call it rock, call it pop, call it indie, Devils & Angels is an unparalled album: songs and hooks that stick, broad appeal, talent, depth in songwriting, and a very big heart. Try it out.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/melee-devils-angels/