The moment the chorus of 'Over Me Over You' erupts gloriously into your consciousness is the moment you become aware that Melody Black's explosive debut, 'Love Your Demons', might be something a little over and above the norm.
It's a delirious slab of hard rock - not Metal, though there's no doubt even the most grim-faced denizen of Hades will find much on this album to enjoy - mired in the British punk rock explosion of the seventies, but adorned at all points with a songwriting sophistication that takes the album beyond mere snot-nosed bravado and into an area altogether more enticing.
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'So Gone' might be something you'd find Scott Weiland sniffing around, its restrained grunge stylings twitching invitingly at the edges of your senses, before driving home its point in a compelling crescendo that somehow brings to mind almost impossible thoughts of Bush duking it out with Life Of Agony. I admit you need a fertile imagination to make that vision work, but if you can, you'll understand perfectly when you hear the track.
'Pushover' is pure brilliance, the poprocking twinkle of the verses coalescing into a glorious chorus that pulls out all the stops in a piece of melodic grandstanding few bands will manage to better this year, before allowing guitarist Phil Bowley the space to unleash a neat solo - there's no dicking about here, no flab, just, as the courier advert currently being flogged to death on Foxtel says, 'excellence simply delivered'.
'Do You Need Me' maintains the high standards, vocalist Johnathan Devoy propelling the song with an impassioned vocal. Devoy is one of the real stars of '...Demons', stamping every moment with the authority of his powerful throatal performances, and he screams himself raw at the end of this track.
'Who's Cryin' Now' carries the handicap of sharing its title with a Journey song of such brilliance, it can't hope but to come off second best. Still, perhaps this little lull in the proceedings is just a magnificent feat of tracking brilliance, as 'WCN' paves the way for the utter magnificence of 'TV Generation'. This is a song that genuinely fires the spirit and gladdens the heart, built around the sort of chorus that ruled the airwaves in Britain about fifteen years ago when Britrock titans like Terrorvision ran the show. It is an utter gem of a song that, once lodged in your brain, will never, ever leave. And, just when you thought the song was going to fade and die, the whole thing takes off again, thanks to some marvellous Keith Moon-styled drum barrages courtesy of the magnificently monikered Tubby Wadsworth. It is, in three words, absolutely bloody perfect.
'We Both Know' is underpinned by some throbbing basswork from the fingers of Leeno Dee, and comes equipped with another splendid chorus - are you getting the idea now?
'Pretty Ugly' rounds things out nicely, delivering a rocking sound The Living End would be proud of, and there you have it.
Melody Black are seasoned musicians, and it's doubtless you'll be familiar with at least some of their work in bands such as Jerk and Ink; but I doubt very much you'll hear a better straight-up hard rock album from anyone - known or unknown - this year. Splendid stuff.
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