Portland band Melville’s initial offering, the EP entitled Maquette, was exactly what the title’s definition would lead you to believe: a small, preliminary model. However, when the churning opening riff of their debut full-length album, The New Zero, explodes to life, it’s clear that this prior model has been blown up in order to make room for what’s to come.
The concept behind The New Zero represents a starting point – the culmination of past events into the beginning of something new. Melville’s first full-length record comes after the band spent time honing their sound from lower-fi alt-country to the current template of visceral, shoot for the stars, high-energy rock ‘n roll. The results do not disappoint. The songwriting is markedly tighter and more focused on this album. When combined with lead singer/songwriter Ryan T. Jacobs’ fiery vocals, the album’s abundance of hooks and singable choruses proves nearly irresistible.
Having spent seven years living in Europe, Jacobs speaks four languages, and channels his world travel experiences into his songwriting. Jacobs’ lyrics and dynamic vocals are enhanced by the impressive technical skill of his fellow bandmates: bassist Ryan Aughenbaugh; guitarist Dan Bacon; and drummer Juan Felipe. This versatile troupe of musicians brings a certain swagger to the Melville sound and a new fire to the stage.
Either a result of, or a reason for Melville’s longevity, the band’s sound is neither restrictive to nor a derivative of the current era. The music has been compared to the likes of Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Snow Patrol, and REM. Above all, Melville’s invigorating brand of emotive rock ‘n roll believes in transcendence through music and aims to move its audience to believe the same.
Recorded with Gregg Williams (The Dandy Warhols, Sheryl Crow, Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by Paul Gold (The War on Drugs, Grizzly Bear), The New Zero was meticulously crafted over the course of two years. As the band has evolved, Melville has seen their song “Heart” debuted at a sold-out Portland Trailblazers game; they played the Portland Party at SXSW; and they shared the stage with the likes of 3 Doors Down, Wilco side-project The Autumn Defense, Minor Alps, and Murder By Death. The August 18th debut of The New Zero and the ensuing album-release tour will simultaneously mark the closing and opening of chapters old and new. With a live show full of energy and packed full of their exhilarating songs, you won’t want to miss being a part of what’s coming next.
Ultimately, our worlds can change in an instant. What Melville wants to convey with this record is that in the moment after those changes, we have The New Zero: a chance to shape what comes next. We can no longer influence the past, but the present is ours to be molded and defined. The aftermath of what comes our way is malleable and there is always The New Zero.