Chin Up, Meriwether! plays sloppy, fun punk with queercore streaks and other socio-political shades. The new 12-inch record, Fruition, from the Olympia, Wash., (via Missoula) band doesn't explore new territory, but it adds to the dialog of loss, love and societal ills.
"Fags Rule!" and "Wally's Hardcore" (about a violent incident on Missoula's own streets) deal with homophobia, and it's easy to get behind the sentiment: No one should be made to feel ashamed, let alone beat up, for being gay. But these songs also feel like public service messages, to hell with the aesthetics of the music.
It's really tracks like "Howling Underwater" that make this record feel artistic and not just political. Lyrics delivered in gang vocals like, "I want out of the city, I want back into the fire, from the fire to the river, heard you howling underwater," don't get so tied up in the need to deliver a literal message. Mystery can be a good thing.
Then again, in "Relapse, Recovery, Reprise" the band sings, "If it all amounts to a set of clichés then at least our thoughts have been voiced." True. Sometimes you've just got to say what you mean, even if it is a tad too earnest.
Chin Up, Meriwether! plays Total Fest at the Badlander Friday, Aug. 20, at 10:30 PM.