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February 3, 2012

The Melismatics

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The Melismatics


Pravada Records


A “melismatic technique” is one of those terms a musician or brainiac music lover might use to impress — as if giving away a secret as to why a song may stay in one’s head. “It’s to induce a trance,” the brainiac whispers.


Newsflash — the technique (singing several notes to one syllable) is what most bands and pop singers do, and The Melismatics do it very well. This tight, rock band from the indie side of Minneapolis seems on the verge of breaking big. And if their newest release, Mania!, is any indication, The Melismatics have got to be trance kickers live. (They played the Record Bar a few weeks back and I’m still crying in my beer for missing it.)


Their sound is fresh, driving, infectious — one that reminds me of bands from ‘80s — yet still original enough that nothing definitive comes to mind to hang a comparison. Original songwriting from band members Ryan Smith and “girl singer” Pony (Kathie Hixon-Smith) is serious but airy, and relatable, particularly on “Face to Face” and “Your Love is a Poison,” a tune where Smith’s guitar rattles up against the beat of Ron Caron’s drums as Pony makes her defiant declarations.


The trance really takes effect with “Divided Devotions.” It’s my favorite cut among some really good music, one that’s remixed, giving it a kind of Devo style imprint and delivered a second time as the last cut on the CD. The Melismatics are an energy-laced rock band breaking ground but holding to the rock spirit, with a great sound, superb production values and wunderkind music writing skills. Check them out at http://melismatics.com. —Bruce Rodgers


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