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  • Live Review: Amber Melody – SIR, Hollywood

    Fri, 24 Apr 2009 12:42:45

    "It's all about being real," exclaimed Amber Melody, as she sauntered across an SIR stage in front of a tightly packed ensemble of music industry-folk. Amber had already spent 30 minutes wowing the crowd at her showcase with a combination of spritely pop crooning, hip hop rhythms and dramatic ebb and flow, and she was on her second, yes, second encore. Why? Because she's the real deal.

    Amber may hail from the UK, but there's something decidedly American about her. Keeping with the U.S. zeitgeist, she blends genres seamlessly into a pop style that's utterly infectious and always fun. Great Britain's been a hotbed for "alternative" pop starlets over the past few years. However, Amber's got her own thing, and she proved that at the showcase. She eschews Lily Allen's sarcasm and tabloid ploys in favor of a heartfelt, but equally inquisitive, exploration of life and love. She's got Kate Nash's musical theater muse, but she twists it with a real edge. Also, she has a voice that could turn attention away from (gasp) Duffy even. Lastly, Amber is thankfully not a nutjob like Amy Winehouse. All of the cards are in Amber's favor, but most importantly, the kid delivers on stage.

    After a cackle of ions piped through the speakers, Amber hit the stage with her 12-piece band. She immediately launched into "He Don't Love You." All of a sudden, all eyes were on her. She danced and fluttered feverishly, while belting out the song's hyper-catchy chorus flawlessly. The show became entrancing as she took on a theatrical pose that'd make Amanda Palmer proud. During "Uh Oh," strummed reggae chords gave way to Amber's massive pipes, as she posted up on the drum riser. She elevated a bombastic chorus throughout the room, shifting cadence and tone brilliantly over a rhythmic stomp. Clad in a regal admiral shirt with various gold chains and bracelets, Amber resembled Madonna in her heyday but with a personal refinement. Lil Wayne homie and Gym Class Heroes protégé Tyga dropped a few verses on one cut, and it showed that Amber can rock alongside anyone.

    During "White Flag," Amber grabbed a megaphone—strangely evocative of Scott Weiland—and hit a powerful hook home without breaking a note. "Mr. Rowels" showed how adept the backing band was, with a potent mix of ska and funk. Finally, Amber capped it all off with her best track, "Plastic Faces." Portishead-style electrolysis bled into arena pop melodies, and the song showed major promise in Miss Melody's more experimental forays. Then again, envelope pushing and being real are often one and the same.

    —Rick Florino

    Photo by Ash Gupta

    Check out a track from Amber below!

    "Plastic Faces"

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