With the brazen energy of jilted youth and malcontent, The Meadowhawks offhandedly broach the nagging subjects of a 20-something in four loud, complex and nuanced tracks on the Wild Suburbia EP.
The album ambles right in with an aggressive pop-punk intro and yelping vocals, and, if you were to stop right there, you'd be forgiven for writing the band off (but not for only giving them ten seconds—c'mon!). Quickly the music stutters and washes with ringing strummed guitar and rising vocals, creating smooth hills and flat meadows. Lyrics like, “All you see is disarray. / You said you wanna run and the you say you wouldn't have it any other way,” mirror these broad sweeps and mimic the gentle tumult that underlines these songs. The bridge pulls the songs way back, slowing into a psychedelic slide with heavy phasers on the vocals similar to Yeasayer in their prime.
Elsewhere on the album, The Meadowhawks maintain their energy, but channel it in a couple of different directions. “Drunk On Wall Street” reels it in just a bit, utilizing restrained guitars and a funkier bass line that leaves more room for the again Yeasayer-like vocals and lyricism to permeate through. The catch lands somewhere between “Dookie” and “Areoplane over the Sea,” which in no way is a bad thing—quite the opposite! The theme of debt is present here (y'think?), and the song manages to find sweeping movements amidst fuzzy walls of distortion. “Sweet Liberty” has a slightly looser feel, with a driving drumbeat, jangly guitar and a vocal melody that bounces back and forth.
“Social Network Apocalypse” takes a gentler approach with delicate and saccharine harmonies leading a song that leisurely builds each time around the catchy chorus. It rings like a bright and somber nineties ballad: it doesn't sound like the Smashing Pumpkins—especially not vocally—but somehow feels like a sweeping song from their early era. Lyrics again touch on millennial malaise, with lines like, “Just received a message, / from a girl named Fannie Mae, / raiding me for all the student loans I have not paid” while fitting gently into the lazy river nature of the song.
The Meadowhawks are ostensibly Ryan MacLean, who wrote and recorded the songs. Recored at Dreamland Studios and mixed at Isokon Studios in Woodstock, NY, there a juxtaposition that exists on the album, between the urban, modern day nature of the songs and the windblown, wide-open feel that they end up with. MacLean also made use of an electric 12-string guitar which adds to the album—the instrument is close enough in sound to a normal guitar that few would pull it out of the mix right away, but different enough that it very much adds to the depth of sound on Wild Suburbia EP.
It's hard to emphasize enough just how much is packed into this curt, 20- minute album. The songs—especially the first few—hurl forward with such vociferousness, and with so many different little parts, that if stretched out, there'd be enough material for a full-length album. But too many bands do stretch ideas until they're thin upon the wax—we can be thankful here that The Meadowhawks took the alternate path and simmered their articulate angst down into a more concentrated form. The Wild Suburbia EP has great instrumentation, effects and lyrics, but beyond that, earnest energy. It's well worth listening to and it's on Soundcloud—check it out!
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook