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Melomania

Darkside

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Album Review

The band's second and seemingly final album — though a third is still stuck somewhere in record company vaults — expands on the best points of All That Noise with considerably less of the drawbacks, making for a much better effort all around. Part of it could be the new lineup, with Roswell concentrating on keyboards and Wagstaff being a fine replacement for him on drums, but in general there seems to be an effort to be less one-note. While All That Noise did touch on a variety of styles, it seemed more like a cloning on them rather than an attempt to do anything with them. Melomania, on the other hand, takes that variety to create a more distinct sound, one that doesn't call to mind Spacemen 3 as much. Bain still has the lazy drawl singing from before, but he sounds more like his own man, while the group as a whole aims for something a little more complex and individual. Consider the subtle arrangements on "Feelings Flow," which almost sounds like a full horn section and orchestration at points, concluding with a brilliant, lovely solo from Cowan before a quieter coda. Then there's the just aggressive enough "Are You for Real," riding a more joyful rock kick than anything else, a rave-up for the heck of it that sounds downright fun, despite the sentiments of the lyrics. Some songs, like "This Mystic Morning," unsurprisingly call the mood from All That Noise to mind in its slow, dreamy shuffle, but the additional keyboards from Roswell, Cowan's semi-twangy guitar, and more help transform the song into something more. Concluding with a fantastic one-two punch — the anthemic "Cry for Me" and the lengthy slow build burn "Rise" — Melomania is a lost early-'90s pleasure.

Melomania, Darkside
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