MELØ – Things We Lost

 MELØ – Things We Lost

MELØ – Things We Lost – EP Review

Right next door to us here at sleepingbagstudios in Ottawa, (at least, that is for the time being until our special announcement coming this summer…stay tuned for that!) based out of Windsor, Ontario, solo-artist MELØ has been making major moves with his music over the course of this past year.  Some of which you’ve even read about right here on our pages from back in January when we posted our review on “Mysteria,” the lead-single from his new EP called Things We Lost.  For those of you out there that have been highly anticipatin’ the official release of that record, I’ve got great news for ya on that front – in the world according to the internet, the Things We Lost EP came out just last week on May 12th – it’s out there, it’s available, and now’s your time to do what you do best – go listen, stream it & all that good stuff online.  Trust me when I tell ya, you’ll click play, you’ll hear the title-track start it up, and you’ll be thankful you checked it out – MELØ has a brilliantly glossy sound & stylistic vibe that’s certain to hook you in.  A genuine combination of the past & present combined, “Things We Lost” not only starts up his debut EP with sound that’s certain to draw people in to listen, but reveals a hybrid style of songwriting that’s guaranteed to hold up over time.  If you wanna dance, you can – if you wanna sit there & absorb the deeper meanings within the layers of his music, you can do that too – or heck, if you’re feelin’ it, I can promise ya there’s nothing stopping you from doing both of those things & at the very same time if ya like.  “Things We Lost” is a stellar first track/gateway in – MELØ’s vocals are perfect, but musically, he’s got just as many reasons to tune on into this record as well…which is a lot of what separates this guy from the rest of what’s out there right now…it’s much rarer to find an artist like this that’s unafraid to share the balance of his strengths with the instrumentation & backing layers.  Especially in what would have to be considered to be part of the Pop-realm to a degree… MELØ’s got a whole bunch of stuff in the mix when it comes right down to it…everything from Synthwave sound to Post Punk vibes – but that inherent catchiness will definitely have him appealing most to the dedicated Pop crowd, 100%.  In that respect, usually, the artists in that genre tend to be a lot more cagey in how they share the spotlight, even with just the music that surrounds them, or the production/effects being used – MELØ takes the opposite approach to all that more or less, and as a result, he comes beaming outta your speakers right from track one – you’re all going to seriously dig on the opening cut/title track of this EP.

I always enjoy it when I get to spend more time with a great tune.  You regular readers here all know what I’m like…it’s rare, if ever, that I’ve spun a song a second time around and had anything different to say than I would have originally…because I stand by the words I put in print, proudly.  So while it’s safe to say that I’d surely stand by my original assessment on “Mysteria” – there’s still no denying that it was a great song back when I first heard it in January, and it’s still a solid cut even now after a healthy dose of repetition months later.  What I think people generally tend to wonder about is how a record stacks up against the quality of the singles that are put out in advance…as in, does the rest of the EP live up to the expectations that a smooth & enticing vibe like “Mysteria” creates?  The answer is an enthusiastic YES…and trust me when I say, in a moment here, you’ll see the proof of what I’m saying right here in print when I discuss the next track with ya.  But as I’ll maintain throughout this whole review, there’s nothing less than single-worthy stuff to be found on MELØ’s new EP – dude’s got the vibe & “Mysteria” is a great representation of what that IS.  The prevalent hint of 80s, the modern advantages of stunning & slick production, and the authenticity of a star that has genuinely embraced his moment in time in all the right ways – “Mysteria” was the first reveal of what MELØ was going to sound like, and it still holds up strong as a great representation of who he is, what he’s about, and what he wants his music to be.  What I personally think is always incredibly important, is to find a way to bring things up another level from the material we know, to the new stuff we’ll hear when a record comes out – and I felt like MELØ was really successful in doing that with Things We Lost.  I might have a few more opinions on how the fourth track shapes out or where it sits in the lineup, but for the ride through the first three tunes, in my opinion, I don’t think there’s a doubt in my mind that each track progressively gets better and better.  “Mysteria” was probably just a touch more accessible & catchy than “Things We Lost,” but still managed to leave some room for the record to grow – which MELØ will go on to reveal with “Xex” right afterward – but in terms of what you want out there as a lead-single, that’s essentially spot on perfection to the way you want things to go.  You want a track that’s sparkling and strong enough to draw people in without having to give the full story away all in one shot – “Mysteria” was absolutely the right call in that regard now that we’re looking at it all in retrospect.  Still a great tune, no doubt about it – read my initial thoughts on MELØ’s debut single by clicking here, and make some more time and room on your playlists for “Mysteria” – for those of you that are familiar with this track, you’ll be thankful to have it back again.

Here’s what I can tell ya about the Things We Lost EP – this genuinely was worth the wait!  Ultimately, there’s not an ounce of dead weight in this lineup of four, and MELØ should be sincerely proud of that fact.  It’s always fair to say that we’re all going to have our personal favorites, but ultimately, it’s equally fair to say that the man’s got himself four single-worthy tunes loaded into this set-list, which is pretty much what I’m sure he was going for with this particular record.  To me, “Xex” is the undeniable single of all the single-worthy sounds & songs you’ll find on Things We Lost – and if I was our good friend MELØ, I’d be taking a real good look at puttin’ a video together to support this tune with some visuals next.  Again, I think he’s really nailed that combination where he’s able to shine as a singer & performer through the strengths of the parts he’s written for the vocals…but good lordy y’all – the strengths of the shimmering hooks in the music are at an all-time high on “Xex” as well if you ask me.  That being said, I’m not taking an ounce of credit away from what each department or aspect of this song supply to it – I think “Xex” reveals MELØ’s most addictive vocal hook in the chorus, and I think he was already rockin’ strong with what he’d come up with for the verses and how the backing vocal layers complement what he’s got goin’ on…but just listen to the way he shifts perfectly in that next gear around the fifty-second mark will ya?  The gentleness of the synth…the fantastical atmosphere he’s designed…it all adds up super strong on this cut, yet produces the most welcoming, inviting, and enticing sound you might find in the entire lineup of Things We Lost, which in itself is truly saying something impressive.  The use of his guitar here, is straight-up immaculate – it really sets up the hook of “we want something for nothing” to succeed, and combined with the fact that MELØ’s confidence in his material never wavers, this cut comes out as smooth for its fluidity & flow as it does strong & bold for the conviction you’ll find behind each note played & every word he’s singing.  Essentially, this is the kind of song that a person like myself can point to and say, everything that you’ll hear completely serves a purpose and is played with real intent, you dig?  No critic on earth out there could pick apart a bulletproof track like this one – MELØ gets to the heart of a song with real substance & style combined, and creates nothing but addictive sound in the process.  I might not ever have the music I’m listening to in these reviews long enough to satisfy me…but words cannot express just how many times I’ve spun “Xex” on repeat already, or will continue to in the future to follow – MELØ’s got himself a sparkling gem with this tune, without a doubt.

So…in saying all that good stuff about the first three cuts…no surprises here at the end – I really don’t have anything bad to say about the music MELØ is making…this final cut is still an extremely solid track and holds the impeccable standards of his quality up to the very last moments you’ll hear.  I do think there’s a good chance that “Drowning” will be the fourth track sequentially in terms of people’s favorites out there – not just in terms of the order of songs on the record, but with respect to what will catch their attention the most…and if anything, it’s largely due to the accessibility and spark found within those first three cuts that might give this final cut a bit of a slight disadvantage by comparison.  We’d pretty much be splitting hairs though, don’t get me wrong – “Drowning” IS a bit slower moving, and might not quite have the highest degree of the shiny allure in the hooks of MELØ’s music by comparison to the rest of the lineup…but it’s certainly close, and it really is only by comparison that we’d notice at all, know what I mean?  MELØ’s achieved one of the greatest things you can ever achieve in making a record if you ask me, and that’s reaching the point where he’s really only competing with himself – so if you like one tune more than another, that still ends up being a good thing, you follow me?  That other tune you like more, is still another MELØ track from Things We Lost – and that’s not a bad spot to be in whatsoever if you’re the man behind the music.  For myself personally…a guy that’s a whole lot more fuzzy & Grunge at his core & a whole lot less sparkly & shiny than MELØ is naturally – there’s a good chance that in a couple months or so, “Drowning” will go on to be THE track that holds up the strongest for me over the course of time & experience – the songwriting is some of his best here at the end.  It might not have the recipe of razzle & dazzle that the first three tracks have in how they work their magic on ya – but when it comes right down to it, “Drowning” provides an evocative & thought provoking experience in the lineup of songs on Things We Lost that the rest of the cuts simply don’t – and that can often be a major advantage in how a tune stands out.  If anything, I’d simply advise MELØ to keep his eye set firmly on the prize…be as objective as possible when making his records it the future, and remember how the masses tend to absorb the music they hear – as in, I’m not 100% convinced that “Drowning” will give them the reason to return as readily as any of the other three cuts certainly will, and in placing it at the very end, there’s definitely a bit of risk in going that more low-key route right at the end.  Double-edged sword really…if you were looking at this record like you read a typical story or watch a movie, you’d stand up and cheer for its design…you’ve got that all-important build up, the climax, and in “Drowning” you have what’s known as the denouement…in that regard, it all makes sense.  As much as I’d love to say that’s the way people think about music…I’m not so sure that’s true – in my mind, they tend to really spend a lot of time thinking about the last thing they heard & let that be a large part of what dictates what they end up listening to NEXT…which ultimately, you want to be the same record again, because it’s handy, right there, and easy to repeat when you give’em the right reasons.  For me, “Drowning” is able to do that without any issues or hesitation on my part…but I ain’t gonna lie to ya either…I’m still a lot like YOU…and if MELØ had ended it with “Xex,” I might have broken a finger or a button on my stereo in rushing back to play Things We Lost all over again – make sense?  Something to consider for the future is all…I’m definitely not complaining, so don’t get it twisted – this whole EP is stocked & loaded with quality tunes, and it’s verifiable proof that MELØ’s got exactly what it takes to build a legacy in music he can be proud of & a career full of well-crafted tunes to be turned UP.

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