Meat Wave are a Chicago punk crew, and this third album of theirs is partly the result of the end of a serious long-term relationship. The Incessant is a means of processing difficult times into something creative and valuable: hard-edged and shouty but with a complexly human emotional core. The Incessant is out on Big Scary Monsters.
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There’s a bunch of stuff in my review pile calling out for its arbitrary judgment but I’m going to do a rebellious sidebar on Meat Wave’s ‘The Incessant’, because it’s really fucking good and went very much amiss in our office last month. A record tinged with different kinds of punk -- a lil bit of post-hardcore’s emotion, some of skate-punks chord progressions, plenty of pop-punk hooks and a bit of angular noise rock’s distaste for everything -- it comes out the other end as a record so satisfying catchy I could listen to it over and over and over.
It’s punk I imagine a possible future Bart Simpson would listen to, or at the very least the kind that’d exist in the background of a Simpsons Hit & Run mission. Once Meat Wave get going they churn these songs out with what feels like zero prep and a whole lot of wind-thrown caution. “Tomosaki” has a gorgeous chord progression that bounces into an unleashed vocal hook, the song quickly devolving “Run You Out”, whose catchy tricks feel like a direct sequel. When they deviate from the script they make it just exciting, with mathy riffs crashing the party on “At the Lake” and “Leopard Print Jet Ski” and an extended, ever-climaxing bridge centering “Bad Man” as the record’s high watermark. On “No Light” they put the gnarled bassline upfront and go so sombre you’d think Unwound were visiting.
All in all I just want to say “huh” to this record. I was not expecting a band called Meat Wave to release a record this actually brilliant. It feels constantly active and excited, fulfilling that part of my heart that always wants to hear a band make an album that’s totally live and one-take -- or at the very least, be very good at tricking me into believing that.
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- The Incessant by Meat Wave
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