Writing about extreme music on the regular, I find my vernacular has shifted to much more, shall we say, BROOTAL fare. Savage this, crushing that, absolute obliteration the other, etc. You’ve read it over and over again, and I most certainly am a constant culprit in this repetitive butchering of the English language. Because of this emphasis on language most sinister, words like gentle, punchy, extravagant, lush, anthemic, and rapturous aren’t ones you will often see grace your screen on blogs that predominantly cover the most extreme sounds. But you will read them here, because this is a piece about two new singles from New York’s Meadowhawks, whose music is all of the above descriptors and more. Look at that name. Memorize it. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from this promising young group in the near future. But who cares about that when we have great music to listen to right now? So let’s dive in.
The sounds the Meadowhawks conjure are, in all honesty, a bit hard to pin down. Imagine a mixture of the stately sounds of Real Estate combined with the woozy, pastoral elegance of The Clientele, the melodious meanderings of Fleet Foxes, and the compositional adventurousness of The Dear Hunter. These two tracks, “Thursday” and “This Isolated Boy”, combine the above influences and elements into a sonic tapestry that is exceedingly pleasant without being at all dull or bland. This is due in part to some bold and audacious songwriting decisions that pay off in big ways throughout both tracks. These two tracks are the band’s first since their 2016 EP Wild Suburbia, and present a natural evolution of their established sound. The first, “Thursday”, starts as a deceivingly straightforward affair, giving listeners a catchy, well-constructed rock song that has both surprising punch and hints of psychedelic undercurrents that mesh incredibly well. The opening riffs cascade crash through in a fun, direct style reminiscent of early The Hold Steady, but as soon as vocalist Ryan MacLean’s voice enters the fray with an off-kilter warble effect, it’s pretty clear that Meadowhawks don’t intend to play to strictly traditional formulas. These flourishes and understated details pop up throughout these tracks, but find their magisterial heights during second track “This Isolated Boy”. While the up-tempo kit and guitar work continues unabated, Heavy Blog’s very own Nick Cusworth’s horn section swoops in with all the lush grandeur of a Sufjan Stevens composition, giving the music a depth and unpredictability that sets this band apart from its (currently) more well-known contemporaries.
These two tracks together display a wide variety of influences that coalesce incredibly well, creating a rich and diverse palette of sound that is as satisfying as it is fun. All in all, I cannot wait for more music from this band. These tracks are confident, well-constructed, and performed with verve and obvious enthusiasm. But most bands don’t get by on fun alone. There is real substance here, and the foundation of what could be a bright and long career. Listen to these tracks and revel in their goodness. Cannot wait for more.
Thursday/This Isolated Boy is available now for download and purchase here.