Release Date: March 10, 2023
Review by Jen Emmert
For a band who is just breaking out onto the scene, Meet Me @ The Altar are naturals. If you need a band to get hooked on, they are the one. After listening to their debut album, Past // Present // Future, it’s clear that pop punk has a new favorite.
The starting track, “Say It (To My Face),” has an immediate playfulness that ignites the senses and the spirits; it’s the anthem to the youthful masses. With lyrics like, “I know that you really need your mom; go home…”there is obvious insight rearing its head. Guitarist, bassist, and singer, Tea Campbell proclaims, “I’m not for your entertainment,” but make no mistake—the band is entertaining.
In “Try,” there’s a hyped and fast-paced, conscious effort to be proactive and make positive changes as progressively and ideal as possible in regard to being open and honest—the essentials for building any kind of relationship. This leads into the next song, “Kool” which is the triumphant traipse through tribulation that adolescents need to hear for affirmation. Compared to “Try,” “Kool” is a slowed down tune about appreciating someone’s worth, where “Try” is about working on changing both oneself and another.
With “T.M.I.,” there is a sharp turning point, where everything becomes oversharing, and a self-deprecating side is revealed with the confession of, “I hate myself; I look in the mirror and start to cry.” It’s self-sabotage at its finest, particularly for the youth at large, and such statements that make this time in life especially relatable and less alone. Even with fickle uncertainty and the grim undertones, there’s still a joyous inflection that somehow transforms the song into a joyride. Between the gleeful guitar and merry melody, it’s truly apparent of the disguise
“Same Language” illustrates a cohesive wake-up call in which two partners can’t seem to fall in line or sync with one another, whereas “A Few Tomorrows” represents a clear attachment between two individuals, not to mention a confident reassurance that even though apart, admiration and commitment reigns. The notable line, “…love never breaks; it only bends” reverberates much like the flowy, whimsical melody.
The threading of back-and-forth, she loves me, she loves me not development is an entanglement that has the ability to become very messy at any given type, but also epitomizes the very realistic view and livelihood in which many adolescents (and often young adults) experience development (or lack thereof) within their relationships.
“Need Me” is a bouncy lovers’ quarrel where the often harsh reality of incompatibility flashes before a couple’s eyes. When relationships fail, why not make a song out of it, especially if you can dance and sing along to it? The consequent, “It’s Over For Me” is a frenetically, fast-paced fist pump to the sky, a declaration to call the shots and an encouragement for others to not be afraid to speak up for themselves, that forgiveness can only be taken so far if constant mistakes and issues arise in a relationship. Sure, nothing is ever perfect, but if the mutual feelings aren’t present, why continue and risk the ultimate suffering?
“Thx 4 Nothin’” is a sardonic disdain to a seemingly clueless, laissez-faire partner, yet there’s still a bubbling zest for life seeping through with an equal zealousness to move on. Similarly, “Rocket Science” is a revved up life mantra to remind us not to overthink everything and judge ourselves so critically. The lyrics certainly ring true: “Life isn’t meant to be so hard,” and yes, anything is possible. This one is meant to be blasted and not passed!
Finally, “King of Everything,” while melodically energizing and uplifting, doesn’t feel like it should be the final track on the album. It certainly leaves a craving for more, which perhaps was intentional. The over-dramatic yearning for things to go our way is part of the daily experience and cleanses the palate like lemonade on a scorching summer day.
Melodiously rich and satiating all the senses, Meet Me @ The Altar’s Past // Present // Future is a wondrous debut despite its childlike undertones and seemingly intended underdeveloped audience. It’s the reminder we all need that eventually, we must grow up, but we can use our woeful, dreadful, and righteous experiences to shape us into who we want to be and how we can prepare for what’s ahead.