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Friday, March 04, 2011

Track-by-Track: Melody Club - Human Harbour

Melody Club, above all else, are aptly named. Throughout their five-album career, they've never skimped on melody--never strayed from a flawless chorus or subtly compelling verse. They are pop music through and through, and don't make apologies about it. Many would call them a guilty pleasure, but that doesn't really mean anything. They are one of the decade's most consistent, and most enjoyable, pop acts. With Human Harbour, they continue their streak of unbroken hits (or, realistically, hits-to-be/hits-that-could-have-been/hits-that-should-have-been).

1. The Hunter - Their unsuccessful (in the context of the show) Melodifestivalen entry. Unlike most singles, this seems to sound better and better each time I hear it. While I was initially pleased, I'm now beginning to think that this is right up there with their best singles. What a way to kick off the album. 10/10

2. Dreamer's Wasteland - This bundles together two (cheesy but wonderful) things I love about pop music: power chords and children's choirs. It HAS to be the next single. The mid-tempo synth track combined with one of the album's best melodies makes for something very special. 10/10

3. Sweet Disaster - Slightly more uptempo than the last track, though still more mellow that we're used to from these guys. The melody and production, though, are spot on. In fact, the production throughout the album deserves a special mention for being slick, polished and varied. This is a grower, and it's totally working because I can't stop listening to it. 10/10

4. A New Set of Wings - An uptempo glam stomp that borrows some production elements from the Ark. It's good (and very catchy), but lacks just a little something. I can't put my finger on it. Still, it's an excellent album track, particularly the frantic middle eight. 9/10

5. Only You Can Heal Me - A slow-burning, atmospheric electro-ballad, this is also a duet with a female vocalist (any ideas who? I don't have liner notes with me). It's very pretty and delicate, though not one of my favorites on the album. 8/10

6. War Of Hearts - Back to uptempo here, though the melody's actually quite slow. The brittle funk of the beat makes a nice contrast with the vocals. At first I thought the chorus was lacking a little something, but I've completely come around to it now. 10/10

7. Human Harvest - This song is an absolute beast. It's the longest, most complicated, and craziest of all the tracks. Segueing from melodramatic ballad to 80's arena rock to a classic rock refrain, this covers a lot of territory in just over five minutes. It's also got some of the best melodies on offer. Ridiculously catchy. 10/10

8. Bed Of Needles - This has a classic mid-tempo shuffle, like a slowed down version of their 2007 single Fever Fever. The production's different than anything else on the album. It's a track that I enjoy immensely when it's playing, but it's not one that I seek out specifically. 9/10

9. Karma Control -Definitely the most frantic song on here. It begins with Kristofer's voice and a string section, but quickly adds are kicking dance beat that propels the song forward at breakneck speed. It's a great, late-album highlight. 10/10

10. I Don't Believe In Angels - I rolled my eyes when I first saw that this was going to be included on the tracklist. I thought, am I really going to want to listen to a Christmas song all year round? But take the "Christmas" out of it and the kitchen-sink production (bells, chimes, guitar solos, etc) is too wonderful to pass up. The lyrics are cheese incarnate, but that melody's indelible. I actually found myself enjoying this more in the context of the album. Go figure. 10/10

11. You Don't Love Me - Another new shift in sound for the band, this alternates between solemn, slow verses and pumped up guitar-charged choruses that are among the loudest pieces of music the guys have ever made. It's all got an anthemic, cathartic release to it. A perfect ending to the album. 9/10

Album Grade: 9.5/10

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Blogger motherfakka said...

great review!!! you re really talented and have a great taste :-) i love melody clubs new album too!

2:16 AM  
Blogger flowerowl said...

Where can I purchase the download? Can't find it in the UK itunes, nor in the 7digital UK...kind stupid and annoying that you can't buy it without having a swedish credit card!...I'm thrilled when I found out "I Don't Believe In Angels" got included in this album!!!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

flowerowl, try They're a Finnish site that allows you to purchase music using cards from any country. They have a lot of Swedish stuff, including the new Melody Club album.

11:56 AM  
Blogger flowerowl said...

Thanks Nick :)

2:38 PM  

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