Catbirds & Cardinals is the latest psychedelic album lobbed into New World shores from Dan Melchior und das Menace. Coming down slow with a clear vision, it’s a sure hit. Since the late 90s, Shepperton, England native Dan Melchior has consistently delivered an avant-pop that is off-kilter and literate, with a sense of menace and a stronger sense of play. He’s a new Jesus of Cool, riding just about the underground like the antipodean Chris Knox. The sound of Catbirds & Cardinals is clean, lo-fi, deeply-engaging, and guaranteed to pull in new legions of fans. It’s a clever garage pop set that will lick your plate clean.
On Catbirds & Cardinals, Dan Melchior und das Menace successfully meld a hodgepodge of disparate elements into a cohesive whole, bringing to mind veteran UK and US underground bands like The Swell Maps, Andrew Klimek, Chrome and Alternative Television more than they do old blues men or the tweedy garage rock conservatives of Dan’s past.
Catbirds & Cardinals is probably the most overtly “poppy” Das Menace release, with songs like ‘Poison Pete’s Holiday’ and ‘English Shame’ lodging in the cranium like carpet warehouse jingles. The recordings retain the overdriven quality Melchior is known for but push the envelope sonically into some unexpected places, with the dream like synths of “Crow Radio number 1” showing a marked departure from the overall guitar grime.