There's a natural tendency to dislike anything that comes out of Orange County, California. Known for its rich residents and terrible TV shows of the same name, the O.C., with all of its glitz and glamour, isn't a place that evokes much sympathy. Down-to-Earth music lovers probably wouldn't expect to fall in love with a band from that microworld either, but Melee is trying to change that. The group may come off as a quartet of overly manicured pop-rockers who look as if they spend too much time in front of the mirror, but their music has an organic, homegrown sound that permeates appreciative listeners. They've just released their second album, Devils & Angels, and it's full of '70s-style make-out music that actually sounds good revamped for today. The keyboard/piano playing of the group's lead vocalist, Chris Cron, is what stands out the most. He strings together baby-soft melodies and love-drenched pop tunes that are perfect for the MTV generation, but the compositions themselves are not simple. Stellar instrumentation is a big part of Melee's current run at success. It's already appeared on the Warped Tour and is starting to get writeups in glossy music magazines as well. Of course, the best way to determine if the band has its chops is to see it live.
Melee performs Sunday, April 29, at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Amber Pacific is also on the bill. Tickets cost $12. Show starts at 7 p.m. Call 954-564-1074, or visit www.cultureroom.net.