Meet Me in the Matinee: Self-Titled EP
Werner Heisenberg said that you cannot know the precise speed and position of a particle; all you can do is observe it and make a really good guess. We must accept that the universe is a place with some fuzzy, smudged spots on the borders.
Meet Me in the Matinee is a particle in motion. The three-piece out of Logan, W.Va., plays music that falls somewhere in the intersection of a Venn diagram comprising hardcore, emo, prog rock, shoegaze, and ‘90s alternative. These are genres whose fans typically hate each other, and yet here is a band whose alchemy manages to combine those desperate sources into a new element.
What they’ve made isn’t gold, but rather something unstable and explosive. The band’s March 2018 self-titled release is an album that seems at war with itself. The varying influences and sonic elements that have propelled the band through more than a decade of creativity always seemed to favor one or another genre. With this album, Meet Me in the Matinee has forged something seemingly on the verge of flying apart at any given moment. There is an urgency and desperation here absent from their previous efforts.
Meet Me in the Matinee kicks off with “Hastings.” The doom-laden opening crunch immediately evokes Refused’s excellent 2015 album, Freedom. Much like that band, this one wastes no time zig-zagging other directions. The opening track hints at doom but moves along too fast for it, settling instead into something like the Ride-influenced modern shoegaze of the band Nothing. “Hastings” delivers a satisfying wall of noise that swallows up much of the lyrics. No matter, though, as that has long been de rigueur in shoegaze.
The transition from “Hastings” to the following track, “Cycle,” is jarring, finding the storm of guitars transformed into a velvet midnight of new-wave head-bobbing. “Cycle” seems like a song made by guys who listened to Coheed and Cambria but had cool older brothers who liked INXS. The song is slick without sounding produced to death.
“Hodgepodge” is the other Meet Me in the Matinee standout track. The guitars in it seem to channel the ‘80s ghosts of Johnny Marr and U2’s The Edge. Once again, the band shocks the listener with restraint in lieu of a flurry of rock madness, here sandwiching a mainstream arena sound into an album that offers quite a lot of evidence for the band’s ability to play mathy prog instead.
Like many fans of music, I’ve never been content to listen to just one thing. I’ve always fantasized that if I had any musical ability, I’d play music as varied as what I listened to. Almost no musician actually does that. Meet Me in the Matinee may not be playing classical-bluegrass-punk-garage-piano-stoner-doom-ballads, but it makes a better stab at sonic diversity than most bands. To my ears, Meet Me In the Matinee is the best thing the band has done up to this point. Moreover, these guys give listeners ample reason to pick up this album, listen to their other records, and check out their live shows. Meet Me In the Matinee doesn’t sound like every other rock band out there. And thank god for that.