[sic] Magazine

Meat Wave – Delusion Moon

Meat Wave like it heavy. They also like it poppy too. This ear-friendly ambivalence was evident way back on their post-punk debut in 2012, just as it was this year’s grungier taster EP, Brother. Flirting with the type of power guitars favoured by Foo Fighters and Feeder you might think Delusion Moon is just some roughed-up radio fodder undeserving of your attention, but dig a little deeper and you’ll quickly discover the band are not really in the game of serious unit shifting. Instead, they’re a series of contrasts, one that most predominantly decorates their Chicago roots with strongly melodic hooks. Accordingly then, Delusion Moon’s running order rolls from candy-coated thrash to tell-tale Touch And Go concessions. The thrilling “Witchcraft”, for example, rumbles with one of Joe Gac’s killer basslines, only to then be upstaged by Chris Sutter’s show-stealing, near-spoken drawl that helps take the track on an unpredictable tour of post-hardcore. The result is a bit like that excellent Pile LP from earlier this year, You’re Better Than This, and so too are the sludgy bass parts and unexpected tempo changes in “I Was Wrong”.

Familiar to those that heard the Brother EP, The Smashing Pumpkins-reminiscent “Sunlight” makes a welcome reappearance too, really turning the screw via serrated guitar work, backing “ooh oh oohs” lightening the snarling mood. “Sham King” is also reprised, Sutter’s creaking vocal straying into emo bleeding over the track’s metal crunch. Whilst the remainder of Delusion Moon, the title track in which Sutter shoots out barbs of pure energy as if from a proton gun and “Sinkhole” (ode to Manchester’s newest tourist attraction) included, are all enjoyable exercises in mid-fi punk, they too often all the same lack a unique selling point. For all Sutter’s excitable guitar lines and bared-teeth angst it’s difficult to get consistently excited with the product. With their deluge of tumbling angles and scales you get the feeling Meat Wave might be able “do a Ceremony” and get it all right on a future LP (see The L-Shaped Man), but at present they’re too reliant on a formula that makes Delusion Moon seem just too orderly for a proper punk record. It’s a record that needs to cross streams and get wild to truly shout down the hooks that are in places weighing the material down.

Best track: “Witchcraft”

~Delusion Moon is released 18th September 2015 via SideOneDummy.~