Posted on August 27th, 2009 (2:11 pm) by Amelia England

I have come up with a golden rule regarding the use of MySpace as a means to kick start your music career, and that is: if you cannot spell, get an English major to put together your profile. In Mello’s case, his song misspellings are not only a reflection of his grammatical inexperience, but his overall floundering as a musician in the first place; What I Say Isn’t What I Mean is an album that, despite its honest attempts at quirkiness and emotional resonance, falls flat of being anything bandwidth-worthy.

First and foremost, neither Mello nor his backup singer has a grasp of resonance or pitch, let alone the capacity to venture outside of a three-and-a-half note range. At times, the effort it takes either vocalist to hit the low notes is as audibly painful as asphalt dentistry, so when a cheeseball line like “our souls are kinda intertwined” gets front-and-center attention, Mello’s vocal quality does very little to compensate.

Mello’s lyrics are so empty and melodramatic they could make seventh grade poetry shine. “Why Does Everybody?” plays on a one-line loop for three minutes, and the lyrics in “Presently Deceiving The Past” are no more profound than the song's pseudo-clever title. Lastly, in “Those Times,” Mello sings about intertwining souls, smoking cigarettes, and walking through the graveyard with “all the time in the world to make our silly little plans.” Cute, right? Or just really, really annoying? Granted, some lame lyrics are excusable, as Mello is only in his preliminary Myspace stage, but considering such adolescent lines as “happiness is all a dream for now I guess… just a dream, nothing is how it seems… I’m looking through a false, shitty screen,” it is difficult to give Mello the benefit of the doubt.

Further still, this album has an irritating lack of direction. At times, Mello strains for a Bright Eyes-like grind, but struggles to even muster that level of angst. His concept of depth seems to be whining about old girlfriends or juvenile notions of “living in a dream.” Bottom line, if Mello has any real pain in his past, he doesn’t know how to make proper use of it, because lines like “Why does everybody got someone to love but me?” don’t evoke much sympathy.

Lastly, What I Say Isn’t What I Mean is an awkwardly unchallenging album. In addition to less-than-stellar lyrics, Mello uses arbitrary sound bytes and recorded conversation to “add interest” to lagging song intros and outros; yet these clips do nothing to add any real distinction. “Tore Your Pictures Up” opens with a phone number being dialed and a dial tone, and moves into Mello singing “I called you up at 9:30 this morning,” as if the listener hadn’t made that connection already. By the time “Billions of Lights” wraps up, the album's only challenge has been to defy the listener to muster the energy required to digest such a pointless set of songs.

If Andrew Mello starts to make intelligent music in the future, he will most likely look back on What I Say Isn’t What I Mean and cringe.

Track List
1) Why Does Everybody (3:02)
2) Luna (2:08)
3) All The Time (2:54)
5) Tore Your Pictures Up (2:52)
5) Those Times (2:54)
6) On Their Own (2:40)
7) People (3:46)
8) Passing Phase (2:41)
9) Presently Deceiving The Past (3:24)
10) A Way Out (3:09)
11) Billions Of Lights (4:20)

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