“Melee” is a much needed, high octane revitalization of the late 90s and early 2000s post-hardcore music scene that is a breath of fresh air to a dying genre.
By Gavin Majeski
Dogleg is a four-piece Michigan based band that meshes the likes of punk, emo and most notably, post-hardcore music. Not wearing any one particular influence on their sleeve, they show signs of inspiration by the likes of late 90s and early 2000s bands such as At The Drive In, Bear vs. Shark and Small Brown Bike. It’s no wonder when you discover the later two bands are also from the Michigan area.
Bear vs. Shark and Small Brown Bike placed Michigan on the map in the years to come for many punk, emo, screamo and post-hardcore bands such as La Dispute and now Dogleg. When the term “post-hardcore” is tossed around in the current music sphere, most think of contemporary artists such as A Day To Remember and Bring Me the Horizon. Both veer away from the genre’s originally organic instrumentation for a far more clean and programmed sound that features melodic vocals meshed with the usual post-hardcore screams.
Dogleg takes the energy and organic instrumentation from the late 90s and early 2000s scene and brings it back to the masses with catchy hooks, fantastic instrumentation and cleaner production than previously capable. “Melee” is an album containing no filler and track after track of emotional lyricism that displays the emo side of the band.
Like most great emo bands, Dogleg features songwriting with digestible lyrics reflecting the relationship struggle and fallout between two people. This decision allows each listener to dissect the lyrics and then cater them to their own experiences. The lyrical content thus does a great job not pigeonholing the listener’s interpretation with niche or hollow emotions/scenarios.
No track on “Melee” feels out of place or lacking in the energy that the band is known for, yet as the 35-minute run time continues, their sound begins to paint itself into a corner. Similar to mainstream punk contemporaries such as PUP, Dogleg’s newest record features great songwriting, but their sound lacks diversity as the album progresses.
Thankfully, the band leaves the listener with a much needed change of pace via the closing track “Ender,” which is the first song on the record to feature acoustics and even string instruments such as violin. The placement of each instrumental break and transition into a new section is fantastic, thus making “Ender” one of the record’s best overall tracks.
For a debut full-length album, “Melee” is a promising look for a band that can only rise from here by innovating their sound.
Favorite Tracks: Kawasaki Backflip, Bueno, Prom Hell, Fox, Headfirst, Hotlines, Wrist, Cannonball, Ender