Album Review: Meat Wave – The Incessant

For a band with a weird name, Chicago punks Meat Wave are extraordinary artists in their craft. The Incessant is indescribable and that’s what makes it beautiful. In its tragedy and sadness, we see lead singer Chris Sutter and his troubled history; the ending of a twelve-year relationship and witnessing the harshness of reality. We’ve all been there when it comes to heartache; the sickening twists and turns in our stomachs, the anger and the pain – these all remind us that we’re human and that sometimes when we escape familiarity, we go through an existential crisis. In this third offering, Meat Wave deliver a reckoning attitude to their music, fusing such clever lo-fi punk and alternative elements while awakening our souls.

What’s interesting about this record is how fast-paced the first couple of tracks are. “To Be Swayed” is electrifying and blends perfectly with the bass lines, giving rhythm to the song. In under two minutes, we’re given long-lasting impressions of the outfit with their strong dynamic, hitting all the right notes. The song is very cut-throat, intriguing listeners from corner to corner. “Tomosaki” has a relaxed undertone with a subtle indie vibe happening here. Again, the band’s instrumentation holds the same momentum as the opening track and it swelters with pulsating drumming beats. “Run You Out” is another track that basically screams “I want out”. Having a rollercoaster of emotions, Sutter’s vocals become louder and stronger, something a protestor at a rally would be.

One thing you’ll notice about this record is that it’s very bitter and angry but the pace changes quickly in the second half of the record. Though the twelve-track record progresses very quickly and has amazing use of guitar and bass, Meat Wave aren’t stagnant when it comes to experimentation. “No Light” is stunning because it’s like the band are catching their breath from all the screaming and yelling done up in the previous numbers. Simple yet inviting, the musicianship of the band is solid and you can tell how quickly they adapt when playing an exciting riff or increased pace of drumming.

However, you can tell by the dark lyrics of the songs, Sutter is slowly rotting and not doing himself any favours, hiding in his self-deprecating facade. It’s hard to repress how we truly feel about something and in this music, he’s just completely vulnerable. “Birdland” is another worthy track off the record and it’s a creeper. The build-up is transformed so gracefully as the guitars, drums and Sutter’s vocals bloom so fiercely towards the end of the song. Here, we see Meat Wave’s talent flourish as they solidify a unique sound many listeners can get captivated by.

If there’s anything Meat Wave have shown, it’s their immeasurable talent of creating songs that evoke all kinds of chaos. They’ve got to be one of the most diverse bands to exist in the punk scene right now and for that, they deserve the utmost respect. Meat Wave channel angsty-driven undertones and boasts raw and engaging elements to the table. The Incessant is well-deservingly loud and reaches to new heights of punk.

The Incessant is available on February 17 via SideOneDummy Records / Cooking Vinyl Australia 

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