A raw, grunge-y tub of IDGAF goodness.
The biggest hurdle for getting into Meat Wave is the name. It’s confusing, and it’s both desirable and disgusting. It sounds like a local band you would expect to see at a Junior High Battle of the Bands. But, if you look beyond the cover to this book (or in this case, album), you will find something both very honest and very cynical. The Chicago boys' newest album, ‘Delusion Moon’, is a collection of raw, gritty post pop-punk tunes that are both catchy and edgy.
The album's opener and title track wastes no time getting to the point, with four hits of a half opened hi-hat giving way to a roaring wall of noise. Singer Chris Sutter croons the song's title above the chaos, providing clarity over the raging sea of otherwise fuzz and distortion. An extended intro of sorts, what the beginning serves as is the perfect warm up for what is to come. As soon as the feedback dies, ‘Network’, a throwback to the ’Bleach’ era of Nirvana, pounds away. The song keeps up the intensity until the last chorus, with the riff breaking down into a climactic half-time feel before picking right back up. Meat Wave are energetic, if nothing else.
A plethora of influences can be heard throughout 'Delusion Moon'. ‘Vacation’ channels The Melvins with its up tempo punk flavour, while ‘Sunlight’ sounds more like a grittier version of Wavves (if possible), slowly building over the pulsating rhythm of the drums before opening up in a huge rock out and slowly dying off again. In addition to the subtle stylistic range, 'Delusion Moon' maintains a driving pace. ‘Cosmic Zoo’ hits the ground at a sprint and holds that way for over three minutes in a burst of greasy energy. ‘Sham King’ makes sure the listener doesn’t doze off, with its relentless pounding and sludgy guitars wonderfully contrasted by Sutter’s falsetto vocals, almost mocking the listener's besieged eardrums. On ‘Erased’ we see the surfer side of Meat Wave, with the band giving the beach boys a heavy metal detox. Wipe-out drums, bratty out of tune yelling and furiously strummed power chords. Bliss.
'Delusion Moon' is every angry teenager and disillusioned 9-5 work rats' dream. The only issue is that these songs are so trashy, rebellious and down-right pissed off that enjoying them in every context can be a stretch. That being said, that infectious hook of ‘Reunion’ and the sentimental angst and downright exciting build in the bridge of ‘Sinkhole’ are hard not to love. The record has so little time for bullshit that it is almost impossible to find a chink in its armour. Meat Wave doesn’t care what others think of them. They just want to play and have their messages heard. Why else would they open album closer ‘The Gay Contempt’ with a bass hoedown and rag time drum beat? It defies logic. But, like 'Delusion Moon' as a whole, it works and more importantly is fun. The full-length combines scruffy production, poppy hooks and a DIY attitude to create a collection of songs that on the surface seem not to work. But, given the time of a simple listen, there is something truly awesome waiting for the lucky ones who venture forth.
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This is a great record. Simple as that. It is refreshing to hear that in the days of samples, studio trickery and the constant need to 'experiment', three guys with guitars and a drum set can produce something this honest, creative and downright excelling.
1. Delusion Moon
5. Cosmic Zoo
7. Sham King
11. I Was Wrong
13. The Gay Contempt