Devils & Angels

“This is real, this is good. It warms the inside like it should.”

While clearly not the deepest lyric on Angels & Devils, this snippet from the first track, “Built to Last,” is perhaps the most basic summation of Melee’s general vibe throughout their first major-label album. Although Angels & Devils is often referred to as their “debut”, the band released Everyday Behavior on the indie label Hopeless Records in 2004, selling over 15,000 copies and prompting Warner Brothers to sign them the next year.

Produced by Grammy Award nominee Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Chris Daughtry), Angels & Devils seems to stream effortlessly from track to track driven by the dependable and unified musical backdrop the band provides. Writers Chris Cron and Ricky Sans work together to craft some excellent pop melodies, and the occasional deeper tune, such as “Rhythm of Rain,” written after Hurricane Katrina, but some of the songs are little more than throwaway pop-punk. The ex-girlfriend bashing “Biggest Mistake” is quick, fast and pop to the core, while the slightly awkward “Frequently Baby (She’s a Teenage Maniac)” sounds more than a little like the Wheatus hit “Teenage Dirtbag.”

The rest of the tracks give off a positive, dreamy feeling so flowy and light that – and I mean this in the most complimentary way possible - they almost sound like themes from 80s TV shows. The poppy “Stand Up” just aches to have Scott Baio in the background giving a broad thumbs up or Tony Danza offering a shrug to the camera. The Bonus Track, “You Make My Dreams,” is a beautiful and clearly “just for fun” cover of the Hall & Oates classic. Whatever the images that Melee’s music brings to mind, it’s clear these guys have real talent, and this album is seriously listenable time and time again.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: The softy in all of us
Stay Away If: You’re on your way to a Slipknot concert

To purchase Devils & Angels, visit Amazon
For more information on Melee, including tour dates, visit their homepage

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