Vibe Tribe is Elmar Ivatarov and Stas Marnyanski, a young duo from Israel. Melodrama is their debut album, which came in time after quite a lot of releases of tracks in compilations on this past year. This album was greatly anticipated by many people, including myself, and usually with great expectations come great disappointments. This is not the case here.
Vinyla Sky (T1) opens the album without any delays. We get the fast, melodic and uplifting style of Vibe Tribe right there at the beginning. Amazing melodic work and very full sound, reminds me of Astral Projection's "wall of sound". Spun (T2) and Funky (T3) are two tracks which make an attempt to take out the cheese and put some psychedelia for the mind into the music. I wouldn't say they succeed in doing that, but the tracks are quite good. Before I start talking about the album version of Albert Balbert (T4), do yourself a favor and listen to the original version first. It was released on the compilation Timeless. Listen to it a few times (if you didn't do it already) and only then listen to the version featured here. It will make the experience much more interesting and exciting. Well, what can I say about this track? It's absolutely magnificent. The original was one of the most emotional tracks I've ever hear, and the album version is nothing but better. It's not that much different, but the small changes make a significant impact on the overall feel, and it's a very positive impact. Melodrama (T5), the title track, is next at position five. The track is another melody-packed full-power style, but with a twist - there is an indeed a very dramatic part in the middle which gives another perspective to the entire track. Rearranged (T6) is probably the most emotional track on this album (after Albert Balbert of course). This one has a very unique atmosphere to it, a different structure and a very good use of the usual cheesy full-on drug related sample. Stringadelic (T7) is the compulsory guitar track, and the only track I didn't like in this album. The guitar sounds bad, and the melodies are not that good as well - which leaves the track with nothing. Frog 'N' Roll (T8) is the fastest track here - 147 bpm, but other than that nothing special to distinguish it from the other tracks. A welcome change comes with Bass Ratz (ratz = running in Hebrew). This one is slower, only 142 bpm. The melodic work here is much more interesting and intelligent than the other tracks, in my opinion, too bad there arenít more tracks like this. The last track, Adish (T10), is a not-so-surprising down-tempo track. Not surprisingly as well, it sounds just like a regular Vibe Tribe track, just at 120 bpm. Nice and emotional - and I must note the interesting and exaggerated small room reverb on the drums, which makes you fell like you're sitting right there.
Verdict? First of all, I must say Vibe Tribe managed to make a very good album, with excellent emotional melodies. This album is very fun to listen and extremely fun to dance. I'm sure I will listen to it again more than once and more than twice in the future. But nothing is perfect and just like there are ups there must be downs. First, the lack of an album feel. It feels like a bunch of Vibe Tribe tracks stacked into a compilation and a down-tempo track at the end as a dessert. Second, the sound production sounds quite dirty and noisy at some points. Third thing that ruined the experience is that most of the tracks, if not all, share the same structure and same sounds. More variety could have made this album much much better.
The cover art (designed by Jan Moravec) is very beautiful and fits the music inside. One thing is that I really didn't like the font (or lack of it) for the track-list and inside text.
Overall, this is a very good release from Utopia records, especially after the release of the Audiotec album which wasn't too good, to say the least. Hopefully they will continue in this (Vibe Tribe's album) line and get better production standards in their future releases.