Meat Market // Too Tired
Suicide Squeeze Records
Recommended Track: Too Tired
Meat Market’s self-titled debut was a great fucking record, right? A perfectly put together collection of California garage punk stompers with a dark and deadly undercurrent churning beneath all those catchy choruses and surf-tinged guitars, Meat Market‘s effortless swagger was only enhanced by the band’s utter lack of guile. No tricks, just a rad ass record that maybe didn’t know how rad it was, and was all the better for its ignorance. How often does that happen?
Alas and alack, Meat Market stumble at the second hurdle with the confused Too Tired 7-inch single. It’s not that the music is bad or a huge departure from the band’s previous work; it’s more that this is a weirdly unsatisfying offering, managing to be both undercooked and over-done at the same time. Spindly songs are given an ill-fitting balls-to-the-wall treatment that bestows upon them a gravitas they don’t deserve, thus making the music’s ordinariness even more apparent.
The decision to go big makes sense in context. Expectations for Too Tired were both very high and very specific thanks to the band’s association with on-the-rise bands like FIDLAR, Together Pangea, and The Orwells, groups who curry as much favor for their party-till-ya-puke lifestyle as for their music. All the increased scrutiny from high-profile publications and labels fairly demanded the band make a solid statement of intent in line with their contemporaries. But Meat Market is a lot less ruthless than the aforementioned groups and a lot more introspective than they’re perhaps given credit for, which may account for the somewhat schizo quality that weighs down Too Tired.
Though it comes in with all guns blazing and goes full throttle the entire way through, “Too Tired” is a nervous track that masks its insecurities with high quality production (which, it must be said, makes the music sound really excellent) and an overly-complicated song structure (which does not.) The song changes tone so many times it’s difficult to fully ride out from start to finish. Take, for example, the random instrumental bridge that sounds like it was dropped in from elsewhere and is never echoed ever again in the song. Or how about the two guitar solos that sound nothing alike in any way, one more going for a more abrasive punk feel and the other a clean and classic riff lifted straight from the mid-70s hard rock playbook. It’s all very dramatic and over the top; not in and of itself a problem. And yet the listless chorus of “Too tired to try/too tired to try” does nothing to keep up with those blaring solos, those thundering chord progressions. It too sounds like it belongs in a different song. “Too Tired” is a defiant anthem about being apathetic without being either defiant or apathetic. Although it is, at the very least, anthemic.
Goofy instrumental b-side “The Return of Prince Donathun” is better because it knows what it is: a goofy instrumental b-side. But on its own the song is not enough to lift the entire Too Tired single above middling status. Meat Market have made a very predictable error for a band that’s quickly received a ton of attention, which is to try and please everyone else instead of themselves. No matter. I have confidence they’ll figure out what kind of band they are rather than the band they’re expected to be. And if they don’t, well, one fucking classic record is all ya really need in this world, am I right?