Published Dec 15, 2014Meligrove Band have never really been part of any scene. Though the Toronto quartet's first notable release, Let It Grow, came out the same year as Broken Social Scene's You Forgot It In People, they've shared a label with METZ, and their three most recent albums were produced by José Contreras of By Divine Right, they seem to have existed in their own musical world for more than 15 years.
This outsider vibe was the focus of the recent documentary, Ages and Stages: The Story of the Meligrove Band, a film that bassist Mike Small says emphasizes "this attractive narrative about us that's false: that we were a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time, bad-luck band kind of thing." But remaining under the radar has allowed them to continue crafting exquisitely idiosyncratic power pop that's grown from their '60s-indebted sound to one that mines an eccentric mix of sonic cues on their latest, Bones of Things.
The band took, for them, a decidedly experimental approach to Bones of Things. Rather than record everything live (as on Planets Conspire), they took time to piece together sections, trying out different grooves and sounds. The upshot is a far more kaleidoscopic production, where the sing-song gang vocals of "Tortaruga" and the ethereal organ line of "Woof!" and the chopped-up drum beats of "Hearts" all make perfect sense as part of an aesthetic whole. There are, of course, echoes of the Flaming Lips or the Strokes, but the influences seem far less intentional. "It's more like when you think of a dream that you had and then realize where it came from," says Small.
At a time when genre lines continue to blur beyond recognition, Meligrove Band have proven themselves to be masters of synthesis. The formula, however, seems to be fairly simple. "We just work at music at our own pace," says Small. "Between every record that's made, we talk about [whether] we should break up this band. And then we keep hanging out, and then naturally we start making more music."