reviewed by Michael Thomas
The music of Melrose is the soundtrack to falling asleep on carpeted floor in front of the warm glow of a VHS tape while silently contemplating whether or not you’re a good person.
Samuel Wells of Wept (formerly ACAB Rocky) has taken some time to record a seven-track album as Melrose, and it fits comfortably into the world of sad pop, championed by such acts as iansucks and Prom, to name a few. The songs aren’t outwardly angry, but there’s plenty of self-flagellation and definitely some hurt.
The songs themselves were recorded on handheld tape, so it’s about as lo-fi as you can get. The grungy guitars and ambient synths seem to create a kind of wave that touches every song. And though Wells’ vocals are hard to distinguish in the songs, looking them up will reveal the sadness and hurt inherent in each song.
Of all the songs, “dollhouse” is the most devastating and that’s thanks to the last five lines of lyrics or so. Over waves of guitar, Wells sings, “You don’t laugh at anything, you just sit in your own wounds.” And then the final line: “I don’t want you home.” It’s equally as heartbreaking whether it’s about a lover, a family member or a friend.
“sorry i ignored you” has a bit more urgency to its melody, and the lyrics talk of a problem many introverts face: they’re not ignoring you or hating you! They either needed some time alone, and they want you to know they still love you. In “outcomes,” the titular word is imbued with ambivalence. The lyrics “But outcomes/They downpour” is as mysterious as a zen koan, but these “outcomes” don’t seem like happy ones.
In between a few of the songs are “(1)” and “(2)”, short instrumental numbers featuring synths (and piano in “(2)”,) serving as a quick breather to let out your feelings.
Sadness is okay to indulge in every once in a while.
Top Track: “dollhouse”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)