Meat Wave
The Incessant
(SideOneDummy Records)

I’ll totally cop to not pay as much attention to lyrics as I used to. I can remember riffs and vocal melodies, but the number of instantly-recognizable lyrics I can reference recently is just a little bigger than the number of “good” people at a white supremacy rally (zero, in that case). Some of it is because I listen to a lot of extreme metal with either indistinguishable or ludicrously disturbing lyrical subject matter, but part of it is in our digital world, we don’t have lyric sheets to pour over, while you recline on your bed and drown out the world for a half-hour. I’m not saying it features the best lyrics I’ve come across in years necessarily, but the latest from Chicago punk group, Meat Wave, is rife with really neat word choices and turns of phrase. The Incessant, is also, well, incessantly intelligent, using its lyrics in way that make the songs even more memorable.

Vocalist Chris Sutter recently lost the significant other he had for half of his 24 years on this earth, and The Incessant chronicles the turbulent emotional ride he went on in the wake of that split – he even lost a cat (motherfucker that would suck). Sutter named the record after the flood of oncoming emotion – whether about the big or small things – and how this “Incessant” really messes with you. It’s basically a whirlwind record about anxiety, and that lyrical energy is augmented with an excellent mix of grunge, punk, noise, and post-hardcore. The band recorded with legendary producer Steve Albini, but Meat Wave’s latest is much cleaner and clearer than Albini is known for.

This melodic amplifier-loving punk is a real treat, and the band have never felt as urgent and inspired as they do here. The songs are deepened by Sutter’s real honesty, but Meat Wave make sure the listener remembers that this Chicago band know their way around hooky aggression, too.

Purchase the album here.

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