‘ABCD’ is the 2022 EP release from Tāmaki Makaurau-based Melanie, a band that includes Joe Gasparich on drums, Robin Davey Lusk on guitar, and brothers William (bass) and James Dentice providing vocals and guitar.
Having released their first EP, ‘Melon’, in 2018, and an album badged ‘42 Losers’ in 2020, ‘ABCD’ proves a continuation of their trademark sound – punchy and brash songs that deliver an honest post-punk sensibility via strong guitar riffs and power chords, latched to tight melodic hooks and slamming drums.
‘ABCD’ is actually an acronym made from the titles of the EP’s four tracks; All Talk, No Trousers, Brains, Cold Feet and Delivery Boy. The opener was previously called Hyperbole, which formed the less appealing acronym ‘HBCD’, until the band realised that by changing the first tune’s title they could get the first four letters of the alphabet. After an hour spent going through English sayings that start with an ‘A’ they agreed on the revision to All Talk, No Trousers.
Arrangement-wise there is a lot going on here. Each song comes in at under two minutes, aside from the marathon 3:08 min Delivery Boy. This brevity gives the self-produced EP a kinetic immediacy and relentless drive to the finish line. James’ voice delivers a don’t-care attitude, fuelled by punkishly pessimistic lyrics (“believe the lie, you’re doing fine” – Delivery Boy), faithfully referencing the band’s emo-punk zeitgeist. Despite the energy and musical urgency the vocals remain impressively clear throughout.
In All Talk, No Trousers the focus is a girl that he imagines he really doesn’t deserve, capitulating his yearnings with, “First place, second place, third place, four”. Punctuated rhythmic stutters echo the dislocated state this girl puts him in, keeping the listener guessing as to how it might end – ironically, on a major 7 chord.
Melanie are like a refreshing short, sharp cheeky slap in the face – and this EP sounds better and better with every (8:08 minutes in total) listen.