The Melroys,
Walls Will Fall
(Catbug, 2006)

If you're dying for a road trip to Memphis, Kansas City or New Orleans, keep your truck in the garage and instead pop in Walls Will Fall, the latest from the St. Louis-based trio The Melroys. Mike Enderle (drums), Jordan Leiner (guitar, vocals) and Gregg Hopkins (bass, vocals) perform 12 original works -- including 10 songs by original Melroys member Randy Leiner , who passed away in 2005 -- that effortlessly combine banging beats with spot-on lyrics to form a sound like a locomotive heading straight for the honky-tonk. Or sock hop. Or barbecue pit.

Among the gems are the opening track, "Wrecking Ball," a perfect pop song with a charming twang; "Revved Up and Ready to Go," a pure '50s rockabilly delight; and the official closing number, "The Apartment Song," a Tom Petty-penned "I'm fine, I'm just lonely tonight" type song with a fabulous piano and drum flourish at the end.

The Melroys are great storytellers: "I Can't Slow Down" details a carouser who compares himself to Elvis, complete with a sly "hey baby." "Rough Around the Edges" is a Joe Six-Pack anthem if there ever was one. "Bring Back My Cadillac" is a fun throwaway ditty about divorce ("I can stand the minivan / The dog, the kids, the house / But bring back that Cadillac"). And "Bayu Buddy's BBQ" is a three-minute, 46-second stop at a N'awlins roadside joint that's probably the only song on the planet that mentions xanthum gum.

There's actually a hidden, untitled track after "The Apartment Song" -- a spare, wistful tune with a single guitar and lyrics such as "Here comes that feeling again / Like I'm close to the end / I can't find a friend." And there's lots of melancholy to go around: "Through My Window" tells of love and life gone by (mandolins make their only appearance here, which is a bit jarring at first but ultimately complements the mood of the song). "Nothing Left to Love," "Not Enough" and even "I Surrender" all tell a similar tale of love lessened or long lost, but with such insanely catchy tunes that it's hard to stay sad.

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review by
Melissa Kashner

29 November 2008

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