Melodie Group

Updownaround

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The Melodie Group is a side project from Roy Thirlwall of Matinee's guitar pop hopefuls the Windmills. That band is a good guitar pop group in the Lloyd Cole vein, full of lush arrangements and subtlety. Here, Thirlwall strips away any gloss and lays down ten simple solo tracks. Unfortunately, the songs he delivers on Updownaround are not very dynamic -- they tend to start and end without anything much happening. When something does happen, it is usually an embarrassing lyric like, "We are all naked under our clothes," or "I'm feeling your face in the dark/Your mouth is a hole in your face in the dark," or "Rain washed my hair/Wind blew it dry/It was the hairdresser in the sky," from "Hairdresser in the Sky." In addition, the vocals are flat and mostly sung in a monotone, the drum machine seems to be stuck on the typewriter setting, and the instrumentation is exceedingly simple, mostly guitar and drums offset by an occasional keyboard flourish. To be fair, Thirlwall is most likely trying to make a small, personal type of record and at that he does succeed; unfortunately, Updownaround falls far below the usual standard of quality one has come to expect from Matinee.

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