Last Saturday I managed to catch Indie/Emo/Math-Rockers, Meraki, at their farewell show/album release at the Ché Café. I went expecting a good show, but I saw a great one. Meraki put on one of the best performances I’ve ever seen at the Ché. The night included performances from Deep Sea Goes, Realization Orchestra, Cash Crop and Small Talk. Meraki started their performance outside on the patio to a crowd of about 100 fans, 20 of whom watched from the Ché’s rooftop, a visit from the campus police, an impromptu move indoors, and a heartfelt second half of the show. After the show, I managed to pick up a physical copy of their newly released debut album, “Curiosity: The Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Meraki” which is available for download on their Bandcamp for $5. The band is comprised of Shane Moylan (Guitar/Vox), Jake Kelsoe (Guitar/Vox), Sarah Linton (Bass) and Nick Arnold (Drums). The album is wonderfully flavorful in the fact that almost every song maintains progressive qualities in it’s songwriting, dynamics, musical layers, and lyrics. The first track, “Cope”, shows the listener what they are getting into... a sea of catchy, emotional vocals; complex and musical drumming; angular, innovative bass; and guitar parts that reflect artists like Pretend, Joan of Arc and Japandi. (read more after the jump)
After “Cope” comes “Moral Sport” and “Baghdad Ass Up”. Don’t worry though, the songs are better than the puns in their titles. The two songs contrast each other, as “Moral Sport” is light and jubilant while “Baghdad Ass Up” almost has a punk rock vibe to it via Kelsoe’s Froberg-esque backup vocals. The first three tracks compliment each other well, as none of them sound too alike and they have enough separation in sound to give the first 3rd of the album a big, round perspective that displays dynamic songwriting abilities. As the last chord in “Baghdad” rings out, the first notes of the epic instrumental, “Siddhartha”, are heard. In my opinion this is where the album gains momentum to have great potential. Right at 4:00 in “Siddhartha” is where the album’s climax occurs. It’s not even necessarily the best part of the album, but it speaks out in a voice that is sharp and clear. It howls its name, and it’s name is Meraki.
The next three songs, “Deep Tide”, “Eye Floaters”, and “Ebbtide” are the meat of the album. The lyrics aren’t always completely clear. In fact, sometimes you have to dig for what Moylan is talking about, but personally I like the hunt. The album ends with “Retain”. The song’s characteristics aren’t as sophisticated or unpredictable as other tunes on the album, nonetheless, it is still a great track to end on (mainly because the outro is mountainous). Hopefully, many people will admire the fact that they ended the album on that note. I have a theory that in 5-10 years, many great bands will emerge into and out of the San Diego music scene and cite Meraki as a major influence. Brad Lee from SDRL, Andy Rusinek, Daniel Ron and Beau Brynes all contributed to the making of this album as well, so check them out. “Curiosity: The Thirty Six Views Of Mt. Meraki” is definitely worth your time to check out, purchase, and play on repeat in your car’s stereo; especially for fans of Tim Kinsella and Brian Warren.
MERAKI BANDCAMP -- click the link!