Portsmouth based Melodramas' new EP Kids promises much. They've supported both Taylor Hawkins and David Johansson in the past couple of years. Here they've roped in two of the brains behind Supergrass to give Kids a bit of extra polish. It's an upbeat and quirky handful of songs that lives up to the band name by being a little overly dramatic at times.
Opener 'Kids' starts with a dizzying whirlwind of guitars, once it settles down two things jump out at you. The first is the strength of the songwriting with big riffs and catchy choruses. The second is that they're throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the mix to grab your attention. While standing out from the crowd is obviously no bad thing, stripping back some of the superfluous production such as the siren sounds would actually make the material more striking. While younger bands seem to have picked up the mantle left by the likes of Radiohead and Muse in regards to pulling odd instruments and sounds out of the bag, they can be just as distracting as they are beneficial.
The more playful 'Elephant' thankfully doesn't suffer from the same issues to quite the same degree. Instead it periodically employs call and response vocals (one impressively high falsetto is displayed here). Again the weakest moment of the track is a slightly muddled middle section that seems to wind itself up using a fairground organ, a nod to the circus elephant of the title it seems.
The final two tracks owe the biggest debt to Supergrass (Producer Sam Williams has drafted in Gaz to sing backing vocals on 'Betelgeuse'), and they're certainly the strongest songs on the EP. Both reveal a confident swagger without a hint of arrogance. It's this kind of catchy material and fun attitude that's brought the Melodramas some amount of success already. It's something you hope they'll build on with subsequent releases.
Kids certainly isn't without its problems then, the lead track probably being the weakest of the songs on offer doesn't help matters of course. But if they're able to rein in their flights of fancy and concentrate on the feel good guitar riffs that they're capable of, then Melodramas could certainly look forward to even bigger and better things.
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