Sound — 7
Melodia sees the return of the well renowned Australian rockers The Vines. With their blend of grizzly guitars and clean leading bass lines, Melodia is an album that doesn't disappoint. With thirteen of the fourteen songs averaging two minutes each (one of those being under a minute), you would believe the album to be rather predictable: a blend of fast paced rock, fast paced rock, and fast paced rock. But this is not the case. Sure there are songs of the quick punky, rockier genre but, as with any other album, there are also those of the slower, emotional type as well. Tracks such as opener Get Out and Braindead show just how rock and roll The Vines really are. Both songs include The Vines' signature beefed up, gravel sounding guitars (reminiscent of Kurt Cobain's guitar distortion), half shouted vocals and thumping bass lines. On the other side of the spectrum, A.S 3 and She Is Gone are perfect examples of how competent the band is when it comes to slower songs. With all that said, there are other unexpected qualities on the album. On tracks such as Orange Amber and Kara Jayne, the band somehow seems to sound slightly like a modern-day version of the Beatles. This is largely due to the fact that with these two tracks the guitars are played with electro-acoustic clean-cut sounds, whilst the drums focus more on accentuating the sounds of the cymbals and high-hats. Although the record generally flows quite well from start to finish, the one anomaly is the six minute track True As Night. Being the longest song on the album by quite a bit, the track becomes the spanner in the works that disrupts the aforementioned flow or 'chi' if you like. To make things a little crappier the quality of the song is questionable at best and, to be honest, could have been cut down to a much shorter two minutes. The only positive quality about the length of the song is it gives you ample time to grab a coffee and take a toilet break before returning to finish the album.
Lyrics — 6
Craig Nicholls, now off the marijuana which used to haunt and drive him towards erratic outbursts, has somewhat cleaned up his lyrics. It really does show on Melodia as Nicholls' lyrics are more tongue-in-cheek than the previous offerings from the band. The lyrics in Melodia are also much more straightforward and simplistic: All he ever playin' is that rock and roll music; Rock and roll music yeah; All he ever wanted was a reason to do it; Reason to do it yeah as shown by these lyrics from He's A Rocker. But where this style of lyrical writing is Nicholls' forte, it is also his failing. Although simple, efficient and easy to understand, the lyrics aren't evocative or visual. A good example of this would be on Braindead: Ow; Dead in the brain; Is your claim to fame; I live by the sound. Luckily for Nicholls, his fitting and grungy voice helps pry your mind away from thinking about the lyrics.
Overall Impression — 7
With Melodia, The Vines have created a record that will please old fans. The songs on the album are consistent and thus set a great rock and roll tone to the overall feeling of Melodia. Yet while there aren't necessarily any 'bad' tracks as such on the record, there aren't really any slap-you-in-the-face 'stand-out' tracks either. With that said, The Vines have on their hands a record that will neither set them back in their career, nor push them onto worldwide fame and stardom.