Thursday, January 2, 2014

CD Review: The Melismatics - Rising Tide

Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.

The Melismatics had good luck channeling 1980s synth rock on their last release, Mania, so it’s not surprising to find them taking that approach again. Pulsating beats and catchy melodies abound on Rising Tide, but it’s also clear that the Minneapolis-based quintet is looking to expand its horizons. Not all of the experiments work, but overall, Rising Tide is a step forward.

The well-intentioned ballad, “If You Want War” spouts simplistic solutions to global conflicts, and comes across as Green Day lite. The title track, on other hand, features harmonies from singer-guitarist Ryan Smith and singer-guitarist Kathie “Pony” Hixan-Smith set to an appealing Electric Light Orchestra style pop arrangement. Other songs, like the atmospheric “Crawl, Baby, Crawl” and politically charged “Looking For Trouble” feature The Melismatics tapping into that neo new wave vibe that has served them so well.

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