Want a band who write pretty three minute love songs about boys meeting girls and happy ever afters? Stop reading now. Melaton are a tangle of glorious contradictions that beg to be discovered on their own terms. Their debut EP proper sounds bruised by experience and despair, yet the band are barely out of their teens.
It's as angry as it is elegant, telling stories too painful to be made up of alcoholism, loneliness, inequality, domestic turmoil, of life passing too fast to keep up.
A five piece from Dublin, Melaton revolve round intensely focused, music-obsessed 19 year old Luke Slott (the original family name, Slottkeviche, was abbreviated when his great-grandparents - Polish-Russian Jews - moved to America where Luke's mother was born.)
At first, the strictly vegetarian Luke spent years wanting to be a vet before discovering music, but then he had grown up in a house he shared with 100 parrots. "There were about twelve chinchillas running about the place at one point too," he remembers now. "I was used to it though. The parrots would say hello and good morning and stuff. I think one of them said 'fuck off' occasionally too, but we didn't teach him that."
By the age of twelve, things changed for the better when Luke discovered jazz. His father had started teaching him the trumpet via old records by jazz legends like Chet Baker and Miles Davis. Then he took up the classical piano, the guitar and - inspired by an uncle's performance in a Donegal pub - the traditional bouzouki. Even today, he lists his influences as Rachmaninov and Beethoven before remembering the likes of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright.
Meanwhile, childhood friends Declan, Jonathon, Andrew and Anthony had formed the dubiously-named band, Purple Haze, to cover songs by Hendrix, Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins. But they were getting bored of other people's material. Jonathon roped in Luke, a friend from school, on vocals and the new five-piece realised they were actually quite good at writing their own songs after all.
"I never decided I wanted to be a singer though," Luke points out modestly. "I actually always hated my voice until recently but then I just realised it's going to be this way for the rest of my life whether I like it or not."
A name change later and Melaton, inspired by the hormone melatonin that reacts with light in the brain to create energy, were born. Even they couldn't anticipate the reaction though. A few gigs later and Melaton found themselves the centre of an A&R bidding war in Dublin. All this and they hadn't even sat their final exams at school.
Though Luke had left school at 17 to teach himself at home and find more time to practice his instruments, the others were on their second last day of school in May 2001 when they finally signed to Sony. At the same time, they set up their website (www.melaton.ie) and promised a CD to anyone who logged on that year. "We initially said we would do 2000 of them and we thought that would do us for the year," Luke smiles, "but it ended up we had requests for over 7000. And we really did make them and send them all out."
One of those tracks, the stuttering sadness of 'Peripherique', has since found its way on the band's debut EP proper. Then there's the powerful title track, 'Falling Star', that sighs with frustration amongst a storm of guitars, the whispered, tragic beauty of 'Day Light' and, finally, the angular pop of '2 Legs'.
It's early U2 shot through with the haunting impact that first made us treasure Jeff Buckley. It's the complex, ethereal grace of Radiohead with none of the emotional distance. And most incredibly of all, it's only an early indication of what Melaton are capable of.