Fresh takes on vintage sounds
- Philip Cu-Unjieng () - December 23, 2007 - 12:00am

A lot of the new music we hear nowadays harken back to bands that ruled the music industry from years past. This is not a bad thing in itself, as nothing beats learning from the masters. What is important is that these new bands still bring something fresh to the table.

Melee - Devils & Angels (Warner Music) Melee is a new band who caught my attention when I viewed its music video for the carrier single Built to Last. Here was a fresh new band that was ready to go beyond indie alternative, and bring strong musical know-how with fetching melodies and harmonies to its music. Melee reminded me of Halls & Oates (H&O) and it came as no surprise to find that the bonus track on the CD is a cover of H&O’s You Make My Dreams. Throughout the CD, there’s a lot of intelligent pop that makes us wonder just how far this band will go. I can see them evolving further, producing music akin to acts like Bruce Hornsby and Little Feat. In the meantime, just enjoy a band that knows its chops and seems to have taken lessons from the better bands of the last 30 years.

Mutemath - Mutemath (Warner Music) A New Orleans band, Mutemath is another band that has taken its music lessons seriously. Not content with three chord progressions, Mutemath dabbles in electronica but bring a solid rock base to the exercise. You’d have to categorize them as Alternative, but this is Alternative with grand vision and ambitions. At times, the vocalist sounded like a hoarser, more raw Sting; and at times, the music sounds like where Police would have progressed to from its Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine era. This is especially true in the case of the tracks Plan B and Noticed. To be honest, this a debut album that has its rougher, uneven edges and it would be interesting to see if Mutemath can really put it all together on a second CD.

The White Stripes - Icky Thump (Warner Music) With shades of Led Zeppelin and the Black Crowes ringing in my ears, I finished listening to the White Stripes’ new CD with mixed feelings. The good tracks are really great, but there are also cuts which I found “unripe.“ With the label of genius being hoisted on Jack White, it may not easy being the White Stripes nowadays, when so much expectation is tacked on every recording and utterance. At times, the CD veers away from traditonal rock leanings, and carries a lot of morphed American folk music and blues influences. How successful this is would be a very subjective matter. As I mentioned, there is ambition in this CD and one should give the CD that second, third listen. It may be one of those musical statements that have to grow on you.

A NEW ORLEANS AS I BRUCE HORNSBY AND LITTLE FEAT ICKY THUMP JACK WHITE LED ZEPPELIN AND THE BLACK CROWES MUSIC MUTEMATH WARNER MUSIC WHITE STRIPES
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