At its best moments, Meat sounds like a creepy rock cabaret performing at midnight on the banks of some Deep South bayou. In songs like "Leave Me Be," the swampy blues introduction turns quickly into thumping highway music—the perfect backdrop for checking into a smoke-stained motel—before landing quite fantastically in a party song made for a blue-lit bar full of cheerfully smashed barflies.
You can hear a grandiose sassiness in Jay Cobb Anderson's vocals reminiscent of Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers, and funky rhythms that evoke late Red Hot Chili Peppers. At one point Anderson crows, "I wonder if they can use this song to sell a car or a credit card?" Unfort-unately, "When I Wake Up" and "Through the Cracks" mire in that kind of generic funky college rock sound that could actually float such mainstream consumerism. On the flip side, songs like the title track emit such a dirty and devilish air it doesn't have much of a chance to blend into a bland commodity no matter how cool a company thinks it is. And "Children of Zion," with its slapping grittiness, could be the opener for another season of "The Wire," if there was one. That's pretty cool.
The Villains plays the Top Hat Thursday, Dec. 2, at 10 PM, with The Bellboys. Cover TBA.