Melomane, a Brooklyn-based collective known for intricate pop songs with chamber-music flourishes, sets up shop in this converted silo beside the Gowanus Canal to celebrate the release of its third CD, Glaciers. The singing, which is done by the Parisian-born front man Pierre de Gaillande and the bassist Daria Klotz, rises to adventurous peaks, and the rest of the band, a cellist, a keyboardist, a drummer, and often a violinist and cornettist gives the material a cinematic lushness. On Glaciers, the songs move with a deliberate force that befits the album's title.
Punk Rock Academy
(Resolvo was one of the website's top 10 albums of 2000) One line sums up why I like these songs so much: 'I'm just a modern day Dean and Gene Ween on the rock and roll trail.' And that accurately summarizes (this recording.) ... These songs search for deeper transcendental meaning in music - the kind of meaning that Pavement and Yo La Tengo, among other bands, have tried to find in the wilds of three chords and red guitars - and stamp out stylistic chalk lines with their feet along the way. - Stephen Puckett
Melomane is led by a Paris-born San Diego-raised gentleman named Pierre de Gaillande. Gaillande and company present a thoroughly mature and compelling batch of progressive pop tunes on Resolvo. The tunes feature wonderfully winding melodies...and Gaillande's utterly fantastic vocals carry the music to a heavenly level. This fellow's tunes are difficult to describe...and we can think of few comparisons to adequately explain what it sounds like. We played this CD over and over and over and over...and it just keeps getting BETTER with each and every listen. That is the mark of a truly credible collection of tunes...repeatability. The band incorporates guitars, synthesizers, keyboards, and more into a cool progressive soft pop sound that is almost impossible to dislike. Particular favorites include 'Fireflies,' 'All the Northern Birds,' 'Lazy Southern Song,' and the unbelievable beautiful 'Stay Awake.' This is a truly satisfying album. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. (Rating: 5+++)
Lucid Culture - CD Review: Melomane - Look Out!
The long-awaited product of Melomane frontman Pierre de Gaillande's ongoing disaster song cycle is a masterpiece, not only one of the best albums of the year but of the entire decade. As good as their 2007 cd Glaciers was, this is even better: it's the New York art-rock band's greatest shining moment, in the studio anyway. Lushly orchestrated with layers of strings, guitars, keyboards and a propulsive rhythm section featuring the brilliantly melodic Daria Grace (also of the Jack Grace Band and her own, rustically romantic project Daria Grace & the Prewar Ponies) on bass, this cd looks at the apocalypse from many different angles, some of them as ominous as you would expect, some less so. Look Out! stares death square in the face: death by war, volcanic eruption, flood, global warming, collision with space junk and flame, at least metaphorically.
The cd kicks off somewhat counterintuitively with the stately, blackly humorous The Shadow of Vesuvius, something of a noir cabaret number given a slowly bouncing rock treatment, marching along inevitably to its doom. The cd's second cut Darkness Rising, a brooding meditation on the logical extreme that a dictatorial regime leads to, is a long, intricate epic punctuated in places by searing, anguished, somewhat Gilmouresque guitar from multi-instrumentalist Quentin Jennings. The cd's best cut (and perhaps the band's best-ever track), O Mighty Orb begins with slow, pitch-black piano, markedly slower than the version the band plays live, building inexorably over a slinky, chromatic bassline, slashing keyboards bright against eerie reverberating guitar. Black humor comes to the forefront here again with the song's brutally sarcastic trick ending.
Meteorite, a surprisingly gentle, countryish 6/8 ballad also begins quietly and builds, bass climbing against the guitar and vice versa: "The destruction of the whole human race brought by a glimmering shower," GaillandE muses stoically. After the scathing antiwar anthem Battlecat, a flamenco-inflected number in 5/4 time, the cd closes with Je Suis une Alumette (I Am a Match), a tongue-in-cheek song about the romance between a cigarette and a match, the Paris-born Gaillande's first-ever song in French. Guest vocalist Eleni Mandell is merveilleuse, and of course there's a laugh-out-loud if somewhat obvious musical joke when its moment arrives.
Thirty years ago, bands this good, this intelligent and this enamored of soaring, epic grandeur would be all over FM radio and would be playing stadiums around the world. Until that happens again, you can get this cd online or at shows: Melomane play Thurs Oct 2 at the Bell House, 149 7th Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn, 9:30ish, on a bill also including the excellent M Shanghai String Band.
Fans of pop served with a heavy skewering of experimental quirk should line up for this one. Melomane, a six-piece 'chamber-pop' band featuring orchestral instrumentation infuse their stylized music with a heart and substance too often lacking in the genre. Sugar Ray rewrote Men at Work's great insomnia-and-masturbation-and-ghosts-appearing-and-fading-away ballad 'Overkill' a few years ago into a hit called 'Someday'; these coed local art-popsters skip the middleman and just plain cover the damn thing. Their ofttimes Latin-lilted and Wurlitzer/trumpet/cello-spiked originals, located somewhere near the wispy four-way intersection of 10cc, Duran Duran, Joe Jackson and Wings, (will) impress many a quirk fan.- Chuck Eddy
All Music Guide
It's not difficult to love Melomane. You'll love songs that feature on the vibes live-from-the-tiki-lounge chord progressions played at slinky tempos. You'll love tracks that are arranged deliberately, yet played with an amiable looseness and allowed to amble forward like Lou Barlow singing a Tindersticks song. You'll love the male/female vocals, the emotionally charged cello parts, the honey-toned, minimal guitar figures and lyrics such as, 'You fell asleep with a beautiful smile on your face / Under weeping vines on a pauper's grave.' But the Melomane are at their best when most tender and relaxed; the six musicians play lovely, understated, articulate melody/harmony lines. This sort of spaciousness keeps the mix from sounding crowded and protects important song elements from becoming overshadowed by trigger-happy players.
The second full-length release from New York's Melomane. Resolvo, the band's debut album, created quite a buzz. Solresol is bound to receive the same reaction, as it features more inventive and unusual pop with a uniquely cool slant. Melomane tunes are not obvious. The band composes material that is strangely different...yet intertwined with enough familiar threads to make for an easy and smooth listen. The band consists of Pierre de Gaillande, Daria Klotz, Frank Heer, Quentin Jennings, Kenny Savelson, and Jesse Neuman. Not surprisingly, the band's music has a French flavor (de Gaillande was born in France, you see...). The twelve tracks on Solresol present this band's multifaceted nature...making it difficult to draw comparisons. Soothing, complex...and very intriguing. Includes 'Complicated Melody,' 'The Fighting Guitars,' 'The Cruise,' and 'Buddha Statue.' (Rating: 5++)
Lets begin with an alphabetized list of bands and artists that NYCs Melomane has been compared to: 10cc, Lou Barlow, Beck, Calexico, Can, Leonard Cohen, Donovan, Duran Duran, Fugazi, Joe Jackson, Ennio Morricone, Nirvana, Pavement, Pixies, Spiritualized, Stereolab, Tindersticks, Tom Waits, Wings and Yo La Tengo. Yup, you counted right -- thats twenty separate musical entities, none of which has much to do with the others. Is this an act of extreme sonic hubris? Rampant overpromising? PR run amok? The funny thing is, as I listen to Solresol, none of the above name-checks seem to be all that egregious. So how does a band manage to evoke so many musical forebears at once? For starters, by jettisoning any pretense at having a core sound. Melomane is an eminently mutable combo, flitting from ye-ye pop to loungy cabaret without even a raised eyebrow. True, its all delivered with a dark, smoky vibe imported from the decadent jazz clubs of Paris (lead singer/songwriter Pierre de Gaillande is a native), but that could hardly be described as a unifying feature, especially after sampling the quirky, wildly eclectic offerings on display here. 'The Fighting Guitars' evokes the American West with weepy pedal steel and brushed drums, 'Far Out' dives in with crunchy guitars, and the title track seems beamed in from a Euro-Pop variety show circa 1966. For those of you playing spot-the-influence, check out the Pavementisms in 'Aria in D' and the Leonard Cohen-gone-jazz of 'Complicated Melody.' In truth, there's more to Melomane than globetrotting, pinch-of-this/dash-of-that fun. Both de Gaillande's literate lyrics and the band's tight musical chops elevate Melonmane above their peers, who so often treat genre-hopping as an end, not a means. Listeners seeking elegant pop that walks a fine line between high seriousness and goofy kicks will be nicely surprised by Solresol. At the very least, it's an excellent primer for the vast musical universe that Melomane calls home. - Ben Hughes
While some Americans decided to throw out all things related to France including such things as French toast and French fries over the disagreements between France and the United States regarding Iraq, the New York-based 'pop-noir' group Melomane led by Paris-born singer-songwriter Pierre de Gaillande was working on their second album, Solresol, to be released August 19th on Vermillion Music. Strangely, when you look up 'Solresol' on dictionary.com it is solely defined as being 'an artificial language' with no mention of Frenchman Jean Francois Sudre, the creator of the universal language based on music by that name. It is this language that is the subject of the title track and reflected throughout the album with songs that use the subject as metaphor such as 'Complicated Melody', 'The Fighting Guitars', and 'A Capella'. Melomane, a sextet consisting of Daria Klotz (bass, vocals), Frank Heer (cello, synth), Quentin Jennings (keyboard), Kenny Savelson (drums), and Jesse Neuman (trumpet) backing de Gaillande, uses its collection of instruments and musicians to create a varied assortment of music, each song expertly orchestrated and layered to emit the fullest sound possible. Throughout the album a playful, filmic atmosphere is present adding a certain amount of visual depth not present on most albums. Basically, when it comes to Solresol, my feelings could be summed up by the following line from the album, 'if I had to pick a word to talk about it, its far out.' -- PhiLL Ramey
Groovy retro TV music dressed up in pop-song drag...
If the Brooklyn sextet Melomane had been born 30 years earlier, they could've struck it rich doing TV music. Their second album establishes one kicky, lush instrumental atmosphere after another, with clever arrangements augmented by cello, Herb Alpert- esque trumpet and a bank of keyboards with a vintage warble. There are wry details and allusions all over the place - they even lift the wordless vocal refrain of Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" for "The Spirit of Smoke." As songs, though, their mood sketches are more evocative than they are memorable - even the lyrics in their tribute to New York tour guide Timothy Speed Levitch seem like an afterthought to its robotic waltz. "All of the things that I'm trying to say could be sung in tones," they declare on the title track, and they're right about that.
When I first put Melomane's new sophomore release, Solresol (Vermillion Music), into my CD player, my good friend Latta de Saint was in the room. The first track, 'Complicated Melody', starts the disc off. 'I don't fucking believe it,' I said. 'What?' Realtoon inquired. 'I actually got a CD I like to review. Hot!' And right off the bat, musically, Melomane reminded me of something. But I couldn't place it. Their press release compares them to Calexico (a definite influence), Leonard Cohen (somewhat of a stretch), Beck (nowhere near as funky), and Stereolab (most definitely). But that still wasn't it. What the fuck could it be? It has been making me nuts for weeks now. Until tonight. It finally hit me: Os Mutantes. They sound like Os Mutantes,.. only they speak English. The sextet combines guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, cello, trumpet, and samples. It's pretty,.. indescribable, to be honest. It's poppy, yet melancholy. It's light-hearted in its vibe, yet dark in its melodies. It's a mish-mash of a bunch of different things. And I dig it. And it also invokes memories of me being young and watching episodes of The Banana Splits on television. Don't ask. At first, my only complaint was that I didn't feel that singer Pierre de Gaillande's voice was doing the music justice. But, as someone close to me pointed out, 'Give him a break. He's French.' But as time went on, and as one listening turned into two, and two into many more, I have grown to like the vocals. Pierre's voice actually fits now. And I no longer think that it is him that was out of place. I think it was me. Songs to pay extra special attention to are the slow and saucy 'Far Out', the Modest Mouse-esque 'The Cruise' (Yes, I made a GOOD comparison to Modest Mouse. Lay off.), and the lyrically addictive end track, 'A Capella'. They're all pretty yummy, though. Since this is a sophomore album (and since most sophomore albums are typically mere shadows of freshman attempts), I'm now forced to hunt down their first album, Resolvo. Goddamnit. More money for me to spend. Guess it looks like I'm off to sell more guns and drugs to children in the inner-city. - insane wayne chinsang