December 10, 2015 | by Bryne Yancey

For a band with such an outwardly abrasive disposition, Meat Wave sure can write pretty songs.

It’s weird. Delusion Moon exudes accessible personality from every angle, yet there’s a somewhat unquantifiable undercurrent of weirdness permeating through all of it. It’s like meeting someone for the first time and, though you enjoy talking to them and they might seem normal enough, something about them triggers an odd gut feeling. Maybe it’s the way their shoulders slump or the unpredictable way their eyes wander away from yours, but you just know that this person isn’t sharing everything with you. There’s warmth, but also distance, and perhaps a tinge of instability. Meat Wave are that person in the form of a rock band.

That aesthetic is Meat Wave’s defining characteristic. To their credit, each song on Delusion Moon feels like a smaller part of a cohesive collection of ideas, but also, each song seems to communicate a different shade of uncomfortableness. Nothing here is catchy in the traditional sense; rather, the vocals from Chris Sutter, sometimes shrill, occasionally yelled, sets an unsettlingly captivating tone. The music itself is interesting—Sutter’s guitars are generally rather bright but the rhythm section pulverizes, Joe Gac’s bass throbbing, Ryan Wizniak’s drums pounding. Often a song starts out rather pressurized, as if these three guys are withholding something, but then, as the song progresses, the instrumentation will begin to crash, with louder guitars and more in-your-face cymbals. It can really throw the listener for a loop and, chances are, that’s the idea.

In “Witchcraft,” arguably Delusion Moon’s centerpiece, Meat Wave take all of these attributes and execute them to near-perfection. There’s a distinct push-and-pull to the song’s verses that creates and inflates tension. The heaviness of the rhythm section is at the forefront, subtly building—notice how the cymbals get just a little bit louder underneath Sutter at the end of each lyric in the verses. Static distortion cakes the song’s middle, but just like that, before you can even really tell what it is, it fades. Sutter’s cadence speeds up ever so subtly in the second chorus before the final, instrumental breakdown, where his riffs finally take center stage and begin to march in lockstep with Gac and Wizniak—up to that point, as funny as it sounds and as well as it works regardless, it occasionally sounds as though the guys were playing three different songs but then again, isn’t that how our brains function sometimes?