Reviewed by Kent Manthie
Before Adam was left to his own devices, putting together the balance of Wall Carpet last year, before Mitch took a powder (he did come back, though, for their latest EP, May), Meesh did a self-titled EP in August of 2013. The music on the EP foreshadowed the uptempo, sing-along pop style on Wall Carpet, which came out later that year in November.
Unlike Wall Carpet, Jacky Munoz hadn’t appeared yet. In fact, the lineup for the self-titled EP was: Mitch Chisholm sang and played guitar as well as providing some juxtaposition to an otherwise acoustic guitar and voice sound by adding some French horn in spots (at least, I think it’s Mitch on the horn – it’s either Mitch or Adam, sorry, can’t say for sure); Adam Hachey also played guitar and sang vocals; also, Georgia Crowther (whom I, at first, mistook for Jacky) provided vocals as well; Rounding out the lineup here was Max Petersen, who played banjo. Max is a really good banjo player: the banjo and the guitars played together in sync a lot, not at odds, although, here and there Max does stick out a bit with a some solo riffs and whatnot.
Meesh starts out with “Skinny Legs”, which begins with a French horn riff over the banjo. As the song gets going, you hear the acoustic guitar strumming in there as well and Georgia harmonizes quite nicely with Adam and Mitch, who chimes in too. It’s kind of hard to figure out just what they’re singing about at first on “Skinny Legs”, but by the time you get to the chorus, it’s safe to say that the protagonist of the song, after having to go through some crap about his skinny legs, sings that “No one can run like I can…” which shows that he’s glad to have these legs that propel him faster than others. “One of Us” is a song that seems to be implying that in a relationship, each person- the guy and the girl, both seem to have idiosyncratic tendencies which leads to the refrain “One of us/One of us/One of us/Is going to get in trouble/With somebody” – now, I could be wrong, but that’s just my interpretation of it. The song “Perfection” poses the question, in essence, “where can one find perfection?” – “In a cereal box (probably not)/In a package of ground meat (I don’t think so)/In my birthday gift (I should politely say yes)/In a shopping mall (it’s hard to find)/In a closet hanger (I don’t remember)/In a baseball card (not anymore)…” and so on. It’s a humorous lyrical list of non sequiturs that evoke a chuckle, when all these things are sort of thrown out there as possible places to seek perfection, but to make it funny, it has to have some kind of juxtaposition between the (seemingly) serious question of finding perfection in one’s life and the banal responses/possibilities rattled off, each with a quick answer or explanation (“it’s hard to find”, “I don’t remember”, “not anymore”, et cetera).
“21” is a sort of birthday song for someone who’s just turned that magical age of 21. “Going to Peru is a fabulous example of Max Petersen’s talent on the banjo. He’s freed up to go at it and maniacally do a brilliant instrumental banjo. Not to detract from the guitarists, who are also quite talented at picking, strumming, complementing each other and Max’s banjo playing as well. The final cut on Meesh is “Sincerely, Paul”, the longest tune on the EP, at 4:11. It sounds like one reading a letter from a friend (Paul) who’s faraway, traveling and is describing his experiences on paper (or maybe email, in this technology age).
All in all, Meesh is a great intro for one who’s new to Meesh. Once you are indoctrinated into this, then it’s time to check out their next release, the full-length, 12-song Wall Carpet. Well done, unique, not derivative nor does it sound like 20 other bands. On Bandcamp, where you can go to download their catalog of releases, one of the descriptors of their sound is “anti-folk” which, I think is a clever way of putting it. Sure, it’s quiet, mellow and acoustic, but it’s not political or somber, it’s got creativity, wry humor and a lyrical inventiveness that leaves you scratching your head a bit, prompting you to play it again and again, to figure it out. Read the other two reviews of Wall Carpet and May here, on INDEPENDENT REVIEW. And – enjoy! -KM.