All of my cool muso mates have been banging on about Meat Wave for ages now and for some unknown reason I’d never gotten round to checking them out. So, when I was given their third and latest long player to have a butchers at, I was very keen to tuck into it to see what all the fuss was about.
As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I love a good back story to a record. Although the tale behind ‘The Incessant’ documents a troubling couple of years for front man Chris Sutter, it makes for a frantic yet passionate set. Not only had Chris come out of a 12 year relationship whilst touring previous record ‘Delusion Moon’, but he also missed being the best man at his Dad’s wedding due to suffering from a brutally ruptured appendix.
The result of this misfortune is a collection of songs that range from the anxious to the furious. Both lyrically and musically this record is the sound of someone facing their inner thoughts and demons, trying to make sense and overcome these overwhelming and conflicting emotions.
This is not to say that this is a dark, gloomy record – the band are still delivering their super infectious brand of punk-rock with a wry smile. Tracks like ‘Tomosaki‘, ‘Run You Out‘ and ‘Leopard Print Jet Ski‘ steal the show on the first half of the record, with mile-a-minute drums, machete sharp guitars and fiercely catchy vocal melodies. There is no denying Meat Wave’s ability to pen a track that marries that in-the-face punk attitude with these delightful bubble gum pop sensibilities so darn well. I honestly think Run You Out is the best punk pop hit I’ve heard since Japandroid’s ‘Wet Hair‘; it just makes me wanna bounce around uncontrollably like a space hopper with a mind of its own.
I really like the flow of this album, it’s totally all over the place and really keeps you on your toes. The first half of the album is pretty much short and sweet fist pumpers, but then in the middle of the record you get these longer, darker, building moments that really capture the ups and downs this band have dealt with whilst making this record.
The longer tracks seem to all encapsulate this feeling of anxiety and tension, each one showing a different characteristic. For example, the track ‘Birdland‘ is very slow and brooding in its approach, with droning keyboards and a monotonous rhythm section, whilst ‘Killing The Incessant‘ is a noisy, crash heavy, head fuck of a closer that sees Chris attempting to put an end to this feeling that has tortured him over the past few years.
But then amidst all this broodiness, the second half boats two of the albums shortest tracks – ‘At The Lake‘ and ‘Mask‘ – which are super fast and practically rip through your ear holes! Dynamically, this is such an enthralling record, you just don’t know where it’s gonna go and I love how its pace and tone is so abrupt!
Meat Wave have crafted an album that is dark and twisted but also bursting with energy and vigour. There is this really unique balance of fun and intensity, which I think makes it all the more charming. To conclude, I think ‘The Incessant‘ is one of the most interesting and exciting punk records I’ve heard in years and deserves all the hype, all the time!