It’s been three years since their debut Songs From The Fridge but Brighton-based ska rockers The Meow Meows have returned with an album that makes the wait worthwhile.
Somehow We Met offers 12 killer tunes that playfully blend ska, reggae and garage rock into one great record for summer.
The Meows start as they mean to go on with the strongly melodic opening track England Is Over.
It’s as bouncy as you’d expect from ska music, but with the promised “sixties” edge that’s simply, well...groovy.
The lyrics are surprisingly hard hitting for such an upbeat tune, expressing disenchantment with higher education and contempt for conformity.
“An education, what will you get? Three year’s frustration, a minor debt.”
Cynical graduates will undoubtedly be nodding their heads to more than just the rhythm of the music at this point.
Rude Girl’s Gone To Jail keeps the mood confrontational and the tunes catchy, as keyboard flourishes come in along with lyrics about a character burning things down.
WhyWhyWhy brings harder elements into the music with a growling, dirty guitar intro, swiftly followed by hand claps and a screaming saxophone solo.
The next track, Banknote, slows the tempo right down with a more conventional ska tune, albeit with silky female vocals over the music.
Just Too Young keeps the ska sound but quickens the pace, while Disaster! Disaster! throws in some completely unexpected and brilliantly funky electronic keyboard notes.
Milton Keynes might be the most unusual track on the album, as a slow drum intro gives way to tense, eerie and slightly dissonant guitars. It’s reminiscent of Ghost Town by The Specials and offers a stand-out moment on the album for a lot more than it’s sheer strangeness.
However, Milton Keynes aside, the album is a pretty bright and cheery affair all the way through with plenty of impressive melodies played with passion, which should satisfy fans of upbeat alternative music.
Do Anything, Siberian Soup and If You Were My Boy are all energetic and life-affirming numbers while closing track (I Don’t Know Why) I Love You offers a joyous look at a tumultuous relationship full of rows and romance.
The fact that this album has been fan-funded with pre-sales through a successful PledgeMusic campaign also gives Somehow We Met a special atmosphere.
It’s a victory for independent music and very good news for talented musicians who are dedicated to doing their own thing.
Somehow We Met is
released through Killer Ska on Monday, July 29.
By Lawrence Smith