This one's tough to categorize. Too sophisticated to be a typical modern-pop record yet not complex enough to be labeled a progressive-rock disc, the second album from Los Angeles' Melodine is nevertheless a mature album that doesn't adhere to traditional song structures. And that may appeal to readers here.
Vocally – thanks to singer and songwriter Evan Frankfort, who has produced bands ranging from Sugarcult to Rancid to The Bangles — this sounds like Cheap Trick meets Elvis Costello by way of The Rembrandts. Not progressive, you say? I agree. But toss in some musical references to Queen, The Beatles, Jellyfish and (I daresay) even Spock's Beard, and you've got something that appeals to both mainstream and progressive music fans.
That said, the first few tracks on Out of Your Hands may sound like standard down-tuned alternative pop with catchy choruses, but give the crunch of songs like "Prime O'Life Housewife," "Nothing New," "In Spite of You" and "Rope" a chance. It's when the band rocks a little harder, as they do on those tunes, that its depth and layers are fully revealed. One song ("Slow Dive") was originally intended for Santana, while others take inspiration from Pink Floyd ("Chew Your Life"), Steely Dan ("Heaven's Coming to California") and Big Country ("Exit Wounds"). Smart use of harmonies and group vocals provide added punch. By the end of Out of Your Hands, you may be left scratching your head wondering how, exactly, to describe what you just heard. That's OK. I still haven't figured it out myself. But I know it's worth hearing again.