Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: Side One Dummy
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Garage Punk
That name might suggest some kind of schlocky, funtime party punks, but this Chicago trio are something a bit smarter and sleeker than that: their debut album proper (after two excellent EPs) is an almighty rush of slashing riffs and silvery melody that sits neatly alongside their Midwestern post-hardcore peers of yore, but tweaks the stylistic dials in ways that make for a genuinely outstanding record. The arrangements hit a rare sweet spot between tricksy dissonance and damn’n’blast directness: drummer Ryan Wizniak’s accents and details are subtle and compact, but applied with warhammer force; bassist Joe Gac throws in passing notes that make singer/guitarist Chris Sutter’s ingenious chord changes all the more gut-punching. But it is Sutter’s singing that really elevates things, a boyish yelp given to unexpected leaps and bounds, wrapping elaborate, gorgeous melody lines around his riffs – at times like a punked up, 200mph equivalent of Built to Spill or the War on Drugs’ epic, big sky hooks.
Meat Wave deliver their strongest work to date on Delusion Moon, an album on which dissonance meets velocity, conveying the madness of modern times through skilful crashes, bangs and booms while carrying a tune. The band maintain their blistering post-hardcore here, but add a bit more range. The title track is a thick, dreamy wall of sound that waxes and wanes, never breaking, a Doughboys-esque track that stands in stark contrast to the others here.
The cover art of Meat Waveâ€™s Delusion Moon is an homage/parody of Pink Floydâ€™s classic Dark Side of the Moon prism iconography -- a beam of light penetrates the spherical shape of a moon, but rather than color escaping in a vibrant rainbow, the beam ricochets about its core like a misfired bullet and drizzles from the orbâ€™s floor in multi-colored icicles. This imagery is where Meat Wave and Pink Floydâ€™s similarities end; the Wave play with a sneering viciousness those dope smoking English longhairs could never muster. Meat Wave have snarled their way into hearts and minds across the Chicago punk rock scene in a relatively short period of time, sounding like a more melodic Hot Snakes cross-bred with the amped up vigor of the Marked Men, all while harboring the brooding attitude of Steve Albini-esque noise-punk.
If there’s one thing Meat Wave don’t do on debut record ‘Delusion Moon’, it’s beat around the bush. From the very nanoseconds of the title track’s opening, the Chicago-based noise-punk trio have ploughed right through the bush and bounded straight over the horizon like a pensive Forest Gump. It’s unrelentless, it’s hectic, and it’s the only flavour on offer from a tracklisting boasting thirteen songs – but it’s a taste that sticks heavy on the tongue.
From the opening riffs of “Delusion Moon” to the closing chords of “The Gay Contempt”, Meat Wave’s return is nothing overly complex, but in their simple set up the Chicago trio have found their forte. Described by the band as "madness, destruction, death, life, conflict, humanity, confusion, and delusion," Delusion Moon tackles complicated issues with an astute dexterity. On the surface, the band's driving rhythms, blaring refrains, and echoing words provide ample enough to get excited by.