Mellonova Slightly Happy

After a couple of great EPs, Toronto’s Mellonova are back with their debut full-length release, and the wait has been well worth it. Originally focusing heavily on washed-out guitar effects, the band could have easily slipped into a shoegazing rut, losing sight of songwriting in the quest for space rock supremacy. Instead, they have avoided getting too wrapped up in guitar pedals and have put the songs first. This is a great step forward for the band and the overall sound has tightened up, thanks in no small part to Rudy Rempel (Weakerthans, Sloan), who handled the producing and mixing. Drawing sonic influences from some great UK artists like the Verve or Radiohead, Slightly Happy still maintains Mellonova’s flair for atmospheric guitar pop. It also sounds like they’ve had a little more room to experiment with songwriting, and tracks like "Starting Over” and "Ephemeral Fix” are fine examples of how the sound can sway from subtle guitar melodies to noisier, driving rock. The album feels, at times, spooky, inspiring and, yes, dreamy. Although still primarily mellow in nature, the album shifts seamlessly between ballads and faster tempos, sometimes even in the same track. Overall, Slightly Happy is a great debut record from a talented group. (Aporia)