Meet Me @ The Altar – Past // Present // Future

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While the Gen Z-fueled pop-punk revival has undoubtedly heralded many flops, the most exciting part has undoubtedly been being able to see new kinds of voices join the fray, twisting the form in their own way while drawing inspiration from the legendary bands they grew up in. Now exploding on TikTok and running the gamut of late-night shows, one of the ways Meet Me @ The Altar knew they had made it was to receive a letter of approval from their childhood idol, Hayley Williams. Listening to the band’s debut certainly captures a lot of what made early Paramore so great: frontwoman Edith Victoria easily clings to her specific brand of stadium-sized towering anthems while her bandmates back her up with growls of guitar. The band themselves dubbed their work “Disneycore”, after the pop-rock songs that once dominated the commercial breaks between their shows, which also added to the fun and playful nature of their sound and lyrics. And while things start to get a bit similar even at the end of a 30-minute album, the band’s refreshing energy alone puts them near the top of the pack when it comes to new voices in pop-punk.

It may have scored a Taco Bell commercial, but “Say It (To My Face)” still stands out here as both an opening and a good introduction to the band. The members enter one by one, first with an impressive breakbeat, then with a catchy guitar melody mixed with moments of distortion, before Victoria dives in and immediately tackles the “industrial plant” allegations, showing that there’s not much that’s going on. Lyrically offbeat. table. The harmonies throughout may be what they have most in common with Paramore, blending the power of the instruments (throbbing guitar stabs pair well with moments of silence here) with genuine beauty up front. Another thing you might not expect in the song is some DJ scratches – it’s a pop-punk band with a bit of a different background. Cheerleader-style choruses complete the picture as Victoria rolls an eye at the comments online before things transition to “Test.” It’s great to hear the band showing a bit of restraint on this track – they let the melody shine over the acoustic before hitting us with the full force of the powerful chords. It’s exactly what most new artists on the scene seem to get wrong. You can’t be a complete cartoon all the time, and this outfit really understands what makes the genre tick and hit so hard – you need something to compare those hard-hitting moments to! the exasperated grimace also comes so naturally to Victoria; she doesn’t sound like someone trying to emulate an emo cadence from her youth, hitting a few big notes and going over lyrics about anxiety that are a bit more believable and personal than her contemporaries.

The track “Kool” opens with some of the heaviest, most crunching chords on the album, with a chuckle in the middle. That’s a good summary of the vibe you’ll get from a Meet Me @ The Altar album. With a dreamy and cute melody juxtaposed in front, how far Victoria can stretch out a note is one of the most surprising things about her, as the track finds her letting her imagination run wild imagining a future with the impossibly cool object of her desire. . The next song is called “TMI”, and it’s amazing to have a pop-punk song where the singer is self-aware and recognizes that he’s revealing too much to the audience; it makes us more willing to accept. he. With a list of her inner doubts, insecurities and deepest thoughts that she wishes she could tell someone but keeps inside, Victoria’s delivery also makes for one of the catchiest choruses on the project, topped off by a nice solo of guitar and some moments at the end where she pushes her voice even more. “If you knew me better, you would like me more” is such a simple yet forceful line. “Same Language” is the first track here where some of the big notes don’t feel quite as earned, with a few jumping into the stratosphere out of nowhere, but there are still plenty of the band’s signature stylistic moments here to enjoy – the moments calmer, harmonies and sarcastic lyrics build up to a clapping breakdown.

The biggest sonic departure from the project is the track “A Few Tomorrows,” which was a risk that paid off. With a quieter beat and more alt-rock oriented than the rest of the project, it’s reminiscent of a Kelly Clarkson song from the mid-2000s and Victoria really brings the energy the track needed. Her voice runs and the little jumps up to her falsetto feel effortless, and it also offers quite a poignant sentiment about the brief separation. Starting with “Need Me,” most of the tracks near the end of the project see the refreshing quality start to fade a bit, but it’s clear these guys really are great at what they do. Even on the most standard tracks where you know what to expect, they almost always manage to play an anthemic tune that sticks in your head at the end, and the gang vocals and harmonies they pick just do the job to solidify it. even. more – these are students of the game.

“It’s Over For Me” is the last real surprise on the album, delivering some of the funniest lyrics, as Victoria sarcastically thanks a partner for all they’ve done for her as she rejoices that she can move on to better things. Leaning into the breakneck tempos with a fast guitar lick in the chorus, the bridge is one of the most memorable melodic moments here. However, the next track, “Thx For Nothin'”, even reuses some of the lyrics like the previous one, as it falls into a more familiar zone. “Rocket Science” also has a rougher lyricism to go along with the more formulaic vibe, though Victoria continues to put on some impressive vocal performances.

The closing song “King of Everything” finds Victoria singing about how she wishes things would work out for once, right down to things like the high cost of living and a broken down car. All I can say is that if things continue on the trajectory she’s on, I think her wishes could come true.

Favorite Songs: TMI, A Few Tomorrows, It’s Over For Me, Try, Say It (To My Face)

Least Favorite Song: Thx For Nothin’

Score: 8/10

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