Onomatopoeia [on‐ŏ‐mat‐ŏ‐pee‐ă], noun: he use of words that seem to imitate the sounds they refer to (whack, fizz, crackle, hiss); or any combination of words in which the sound gives the impression of echoing the sense.
Musically, The Melloncollies are anything but that. This debut is an exciting, emotional, explosive pop album that is as spirit-lifting as it is well-crafted. Musically, I said.
Lyrically, however…well, that’s another story entirely. “I’d do anything for you / get my ass kicked for you / what the hell did you ever do for me?” Simon Erani wails in “You You Yeah Yeah”, and that’s one of the more docile song titles. “Loneliest Boy”, “Misery”, “So Unhappy”, “Bullet in my Sunday”…these are not your classic love songs. I guess I should have been tipped off by the album’s title (Goodbye Cruel World) but I admit I was caught off-guard.
The Smiths could make despair sound almost ambivalent, but The Melloncollies want to rip their hearts out in full view and wave their sorrow flag under a floodlight. As Jeffrey Braha’s kick drum counts off the album opener “Misery” in Springsteen-arena fashion, we’re momentarily fooled by the promise of “I’ll be good to you” in the chorus, because the hook is huge and Erani’s vocal so…positive. But that’s before we get to the second verse and realize the poor sap is on his knees and for the wrong reason. The second track (“Bullet In My Sunday”) is equally catchy with an 80s-ish intro reminiscent of Gene Loves Jezebel, so maybe there’s some hope here….except now the guy has seen the girl with someone else and it’s starting to look hopeless. Great – now what?
Is this the great artistic statement about the angst of unrequited love? Of course not. Nor is it delicate adult poetry about the frailty of the human heart. But it is an infectious, bombastic joyride about getting your heart broken, getting depressed and then scraping every emotion out in overblown, dramatic fashion. If you’re drinking off a break-up, this could be your soundtrack. If you’re angry about a break-up…well, this could be your soundtrack, too.
Some will say it’s sophomoric, pedestrian and adolescent. Sure, it’s over the top (“whore” seems to be a favorite lyrical term) and there’s a wee bit of whining and pity going on. So? Was “Beat On The Brat” mature? In other words, don’t take it so seriously, because The Melloncollies aren’t. They’re peppering the album with pop-punk DNA lifted from the last three decades; sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly. Enjoy the ride.
Ballads like “Maybe Someday”, “All I Want” and “So Unhappy” could easily stand on their own outside the context of the album, but when every track in the song cycle is so overtly dramatic they tend to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, attention will likely lean more towards the infectious pop chestnuts like “Why Oh Why” and “Simple Naive Someone”, where Erani’s pleading vocals – well above average for the genre – will appeal to any power-pop fan.
Besides “You You Yeah Yeah”, the real asskicker is “Money Money Money” which sounds like Wreckless Eric mocking Bob Dylan (“could you bee-leeeve the aud-a-ci-teeeee“), a huge guitar and organ driven rave-up with a sing-along chorus…well, about that bitch who only wants your money. And although it took fifteen years, bonus points for someone finally reclaiming “melloncollies” from that overrated concept album that clogged the airwaves for an entire year – “Let It Rain” takes the Smashing Pumpkins formula and rips it a new one. (Even more bonus points for “Spin The Tail On The Donkey“. ..you’re going to have to pick up the CD for that one, folks).
With great production by Erani and guitarist Peter Claro, it’s an album that will justifiably get more than several spins at high volume. I count on this one resurfacing when I compile my favorites from 2009. Now excuse me while I overreact to something…and take that, Billy Corgan.
The Melloncollies on MySpace.