Dogleg, an emo band from Detroit, has released music for the first time since their 2016 self-titled extended play (EP). Dogleg’s 2020 release, Melee, has proved to be an energetic comeback and powerful first album for the young band who only formed in 2015.
Initially, Dogleg was a solo project, consisting of lead singer and guitarist Alex Stoitsiadis, but the band has grown to become a four person outfit over the years leading up to their first studio album. This was not the only growth Dogleg experienced over the past few years though, as Melee has proven to be far better received than their original EP.
Dogleg manages to fit all the original elements of the emo music into Melee, but what really makes this album is the mixture of the other genres that Dogleg sprinkles in with delicacy. “Bueno,” for instance, is widely held as a notable song from the album, yet is not entirely emo.
“Bueno” uses multiple surf rock riffs throughout the song, and when those are mixed with the other emo elements, it appeals to a whole new demographic. The most noticeable effect of these surf rock riffs is the added intensity to the song without forcing the singer to get too intense too fast.
The pace of “Melee” is upbeat and keeps the listeners toe-tapping for the entire 35 minutes. The energy found in this album is so all-encompassing that it is only fair to mention the song that almost killed the upbeat nature of this project.
“Cannonball,” the ninth track, is a novelty. It features an almost random beat, supposedly imitating cannon fire. The unrhythmic beat of the song ruins an otherwise entertaining chorus. Not only is the beat spastic, but it also is extremely slow in comparison to the other songs, ruining the intense and high-speed tendency of this album.
“Cannonball” is not the only song that sticks out; though, it is the only one for its negative aspects. “Kawasaki Backflip,” the opening track, starts the album off with power and an inevitable urge to jump around. It is hard not to imagine Dogleg in chaos performing this song live even when listening in the most tranquil environments. Dogleg opens the album off with a bang that easily justifies listening to the rest of the album in sheer hope to find another song like it.
Just as “Kawasaki Backflip” signified the start of something intriguing, “Ender,” the final track, signals the decline and eventual death of the refreshing piece of music. Paired with a nostalgic chorus and haunting verses, not only does it turn into an instantaneous earworm, it also draws connections all across the board of music.
Dogleg chose no better song to end on. “Ender” perfectly sums up the entire album and nearly mimics a concert with its fading guitar, followed by an expected encore at the end. The imitation of a live performance throughout makes it the perfect album for electrifying a kickback or, if you’re in the mood, turning any circumstance into a screaming affair.
Dogleg’s return proved to be an overall successful album. It drew lots of praise and, other than a hiccup on the track “Cannonball,” it seemed to seamlessly blend core emo music with multiple other genres and influences.