Melodie Group - Summerness EP

matinée 033  /  November 2001
Melodie Group - Summerness EP
7"   $5.00

digital   $3.00

Melodie Group - Summerness EP

matinée 033  /  November 2001

Third release from the alter ego of Windmills vocalist Roy Thirlwall and his Melodie Group. The superb title track is a triumph reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen's heyday with swirling guitars, haunting amounts of reverb, and captivating vocals. The two b-sides are acoustic affairs called "Nineteen Eighty Nine" and "Small Grinning Thing" that demonstrate the simplicity and innovation possible from the Melodie Group palette. Three songs that display great promise for the band's debut album "Updownaround" scheduled for release next year.

  1. Summerness
  2. Nineteen Eighty Nine
  3. Small Grinning Thing


'Summerness' is a great drum machine driven beauty with yet more of those gorgeously sad (I think someone calls them 'minor') chords chiming across the top, like Jackson Pollock dropping streams of paint across the glass. 'Summerness' is a gem of understatement, a restrained cascade of sparkler dims on the prairies. It's all midnight blue; cracked streaks of paint across the landscape of your lost love. Mesmerising dissolution of the moment you fell. Of course Melodie Group isn't really a group at all, but is instead mainly singer songwriter Roy Thirlwall on his own, and he has the good sense to record a song called '1989'. It's not the Clem Snide song, but it's a peach nonetheless, being all simple acoustic guitar and dark, lonely vocal, like Robert Forster at his beautiful, bleak best. Ditto 'Small Grinning Thing', which really is maybe more Grant McLennan in the lyrical bent and the melodic dips. Gorgeously bare and deliciously lonely, whichever way you look at it. It's had me digging out their mini-album from 2000 Seven Songs for a well overdue replay.   --Tangents
Feeling broken, alone, ready to sleep the years away, on Melodie Group's three-song Summerness 7", singer Roy Thirlwall revels in sweet melancholy. In places sounding a lot like the similarly jaded, similarly gifted Lloyd Cole, here Thirlwall's songs are in a much more solitary way than with his other band, The Windmills. While the A-side title track has him backed with a delicate, slightly electronic sonic atmosphere, the two B-sides, "Nineteen Eighty Nine" and "Small Grinning Thing," find him alone with his guitar. In both cases the songs are raw, powerful, and undeniably sad. Even when describing good times, his tone is rueful and bitter. With thoughts like "love is a weapon" expressed throughout, it's clear that Thirlwall's idea of a summer song is quite different from the stereotype of beach balls and bikinis. Not that that's a reason to stay away from this record; far from it, Thirlwall's a consummate songwriter who gets captures that biting feeling that life's getting away from you in a vivid, honest way.   --Erasing Clouds
The tisk-tisk of a drum machine, the jangly guitar, Roy Thirlwall vocals and familiar lyrical rhymes and repetitions. A nice song but I yearned to hear a string section and, at points, imagined I did. The tracks on the flip are even more barebones and frugal. But, as ever, there's a unique sincerity to his/their music.   --Wide Open Road
Sad-sack indie for the aging Smiths fan. "Summerness" will help you to get through the unkind high-alert stress of that most heinous of seasons.   --Chickfactor
The A-side "Summerness" is very Echo and the Bunnymen in their "Porcupine" period, so much that it sounds like an out take of that session possibly. The Melodie Group is a side project of Roy Thirlwall of the Windmills. The two b-sides drop the electric edge, and go right for the acoustics giving us the other side of the Melodie Group. I think I prefer this acoustical sound, as the vocals and lyrics tend to be more the focus. I can't wait for the new CD if it is going to be anything like this.   --The Bee’s Knees
The title track is old-style indiepop with a melancholic yet catchy melody and a very high jangle factor, which is to be applauded! Nineteen Eighty Nine is an acoustic song that's not as obviously old-school, despite its title. Small Grinning Thing is another acoustic track with shades of late 60s singer-songwriters and Belle & Sebastian.   --Aquamarine
...better is the latest offering from Windmills splinter, the Melodie Group, which proudly parades the songwriting skillz of Roy Thirlwall - "Summerness" is a nervous petal of a tune, which wraps itself invitingly around a single drum machine pattern   --In Love With These Times In Spite Of These Times
...More often I want something that enhances or reflects my mood and for that the Melodie Group are just perfect. After a few plays I began to notice a real atmosphere developing around the music. Although this is simply played and far from catchy I thoroughly enjoyed it. Matinée are frequently Pennyblackmusic's most popular label, but the appeal of this will extend beyond its established fanbase to fans of the likes of Belle & Sebastian and even bands such as the Kings Of Convenience.   --Pennyblack Magazine
The Melodie Group is a sideline for Windmills vocalist/guitarist Roy Thirlwall, who -- not too shockingly -- sings and plays guitar here. The title track, which gets a side to itself and spins at 45 RPM, is the most deserving tune here, mining the same vein of simple, melodic, sixties-style pop songwriting that proved so fruitful for Echo and the Bunnymen and the Jesus and Mary Chain. A drum machine rhythm adds a little extra oomph without calling undue attention to itself. The B-side is a slower affair. "Nineteen Eighty Nine" teams rich vocals and strong acoustic strums with extremely subtle string backing, in the process creating a stripped-down ballad that sounds like an outtake from a late-eighties Church record. "Small Grinning Thing" pares the mix to guitar and vocals, ending each stanza in an abrupt and quirky folk song style that might please Belle and Sebastian fans.   --Splendid
Vaguely recalls the Cannanes, the way the vocal will drop off at the end of a line, the tentative grasp of dynamics.   --Careless Talk Costs Lives
Flip to the b-side for 1989. As years go it's not exactly 1969 and, yes, as songs go it's not exactly 1969 either but it is one that'll make you think Roy Thirlwall is sitting on the other side of the room, strumming his guitar and singing it just for you.   --Robots and Electronic Brains
Over de Melodie Group sprak ik hier al eens, het is de andere groep van Roy Thirwall van de Windmills. Mocht je van deze band houden, dan zul je de Melodie Group ook weten te waarderen (en vice versa natuurlijk): ze maken rustige popliedjes (wat rustiger dan de Windmills), met vooral de Go-Betweens als referentiepunt. Leuke single, al moet gezegd worden dat de eerder besproken EP Seven Songs leuker was.   --Think Small