The concept behind Portland band Melville’s debut full-length, The New Zero, represents the culmination of past events into the beginning of something new. The album comes after the band spent time honing their sound from lower-fi alt-country to the current template of visceral, shoot for the stars, high-energy rock ‘n roll. The songwriting is markedly tighter and more focused on this album than their Maquette EP, which was exactly what the title’s definition would lead you to believe: a small, preliminary model. When combined with lead singer/songwriter Ryan T. Jacobs’ fiery vocals, the album’s abundance of hooks and singable choruses proves nearly irresistible.
Having spent seven years living in Europe, Jacobs speaks four languages, and channels his world travel experiences into his songwriting. Jacobs’ lyrics and dynamic vocals are enhanced by the impressive technical skill of his fellow bandmates: bassist Ryan Aughenbaugh, guitarist Dan Bacon, and drummer Juan Felipe. This versatile troupe of musicians brings a certain swagger to the Melville sound and a new fire to the stage.
The music has been compared to the likes of Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Snow Patrol, and REM. Above all, Melville’s invigorating brand of emotive rock ‘n roll believes in transcendence through music and aims to move its audience to believe the same.
As the band has evolved, Melville has seen their song “Heart” debuted at a sold-out Portland Trailblazers game; they played the Portland Party at SXSW; and they shared the stage with the likes of 3 Doors Down, Wilco side-project The Autumn Defense, Minor Alps, and Murder By Death.
Ultimately, our worlds can change in an instant. What Melville wants to convey with this record is that in the moment after those changes, we have The New Zero: a chance to shape what comes next. We can no longer influence the past, but the present is ours to be molded and defined. The aftermath of what comes our way is malleable and there is always The New Zero.