REVIEW: The Meltaways - s/t 7"

Kelly Kirwan

One thing that's immediately clear about the Meltaways is that they don't have time for your shit. I wouldn't be surprised if they retroactively inspired safety pins in stockings or set the standard for how to scoff at sellouts, in an unblinking show of I-don't-give-a-fuck. Their tracks are wiry whirlpools that'll spike your heart rate even in their wake.

As an all-female trio, with a strong and unabashed foothold in the genre of pandemoniac garage-punk, their beat on the review circuit has often circled back to talk of confidence. And to be honest, I've gone to write the word myself a few times before pressing delete. But one has to wonder if the Meltaways were just another group of punk-prone boys, sweaty and shredding on stage, if this word would so often pepper the leading lines of their descriptions. DIY garage-punk has often thrived off this feeling of subversive self-assuredness, no matter what chromosomes the ensemble act is sporting.

Under the What's for Breakfast? label, the Meltaways' new EP doesn't disappoint when it comes to heavy-hitting drums and thrashing guitar. "Friends First," for example, is a pummel of an album opener. The lyrics are scant and concise, wrapped in a pitch that feels purposefully piquant and teeters off-key. "Admit you're living each day in denial / Admit you're really wrong," they goad, before dropping a line that's sure to redden even the most out-of-touch narcissist in the room: "Not cool enough for your fake friends."

The three join together in a chant intermittently throughout the track, adding to the sense that this song is an anthem against fads and all things surface-deep. In the frenzy, we hear a message that ultimately welcomes individuality—but in a more abrupt, abrasive manner. It falls into the realm of brutal honesty, and it hits the nail on the head.

Then there's "Home," which is faster paced and brimming with a greater sense of urgency, vacillating between frustration and fury. But there's a twist this time, as the object of that fury is an internal one. The lyrics bring us on a journey of self-torment and angst that's alleviated by the singer's better half. It's a scream in defiance of anxious self-reflection, and an exaltation of the person who accepts them anyways. So, beneath the hammering beat and gritted-teeth vibe, it's a new kind of love song—perhaps one that's more honest than what we're used to. 

The Meltaaways have more than a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to shattering expected tropes, and this 7" proves they’re worth a closer look.