In 2010, Australian rockers ME signed with Lizard King Records, an indie label based in the UK and on 5th March 2011 they released debut mini-album ‘Another Story High‘. ‘Even The Odd Ones Out‘ is their latest offering; a unique, theatrical sounding record that grows on you with every listen. The band cite numerous and wide ranging influences from Led Zeppelin to Queen, The Mars Volta to Radiohead to name just a few. The band are also influenced by theatrical performances and their live shows often feature additional on stage musicians such as drum troupes, violinists, vocal choirs, orchestras, and other guest performers. The band also have the most Un-Googleable band name since A. Maybe an ingenious plan to stop illegal downloads?
The album starts off with ‘Hoo Ha‘, an epic, theatrical affair that sets you up for what the rest of the album will include. The main theme of the songs sounds borderline like it’s from a cartoon cult sing along section. Track 2 is ‘Trails In The Sky‘, a catchier song with a more straight forward song structure. The vocal phrasing on this song are very reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright, in a good way though for those of you who maybe aren’t his biggest fans!
‘Rock And Roll Dandy’ shows some clear influences from Queen‘s theatrical vocal harmony stylings and some of the weirder moments of The Beatles‘ experimental stages later on in the song. The chorus in this one is super simple, but super catchy. You’ll find yourself singing along after the first listen. There are also rockier tracks, ‘Like A Fox‘ and ‘Vampire!! Vampire!!‘ take the album into new territory. Great guitar riffs, with a driving bass through the whole song. The lead guitar parts really lift the song with lots of layered effects and staccato, tremolo picking. It’s moments like this which really make us what to see the band live. Although ‘Westward Backwards‘ and ‘Under The Sun‘ take us back to the theatrical side, it’s very guitar lead – all the interesting melodies come from the guitar with amazing creativity on the album.
There are also some more chilled out, thoughtful and emotional songs on the album, namely ‘Choral‘ and ‘Their Song‘ offering some light and shade in the album. It’s a very nice change and also shows off the bands diversity with these changes in dynamics. ‘Your Favourite Colour‘ and ‘Working Life‘ are the poppier songs on the album and we wouldn’t be surprised if the former or ‘Rock And Roll Dandy’ are used as singles.
The album is filled throughout with a spectacular theatrical styling that seems a world away from the type of music hitting the charts or even underground scenes in the UK at the moment. It’s really refreshing to hear an album that isn’t trying to be something else or copy anyone else. Yes, they have been influenced by other bands but they haven’t tried to sound like their heroes but merely absorbed them and used that mix to create their own signature sound.
ME aren’t just a one trick pony, they’ve also got some amazing guitar lead songs in there too. At times ME are reminiscent of Manchester Orchestra or Kasabian, at others of Rufus Wainwright and Panic! At The Disco (only in for the theatrical sense) as well as touching on the creative/experimental genius of Radiohead. Definitely an album worth checking out, especially if you like your artists to be unique, genre breaking and excelling in creating an album and a sound of their own.
Reviewer: Ash Hughes