It seems that lately, any new British rock band that comes out of the woodwork is instantly labelled as the next Lower Than Atlantis or Young Guns. And sadly for most, all these comments do is hinder chances of prosperity for the new breed, as more often than not they won’t fit the cookie cutter template of prior success stories. That’s just the way music evolves. But perhaps not in south England upstarts Press To MECO’s case, illustrated by new debut album Good Intent. There may be expectations for the trio to fit a particular mould, and probably a few comparisons to bands like the ones mentioned earlier, but with one listen, it’s clear Press To MECO aren’t quite like anyone else.
The nucleus of Good Intent is heavy, technical riffs, transcendent lyrics about human life, and plenty of room to showcase the vocal talents of all three (!!!) lead singers. Amongst the album’s eleven tracks are straight-up rock jams like bouncy ballad Autopsy, (which truly shows the skills of all three instrumentalists), the compelling Apprehension or Honestly with its swooping lead guitar. And it’s difficult to not envision tracks like these receiving major radio airplay. But the remainder is not so accessible, and it’s a bit up in the air as to whether this is a pro or a con overall. Manipulate manages to blend a driving, almost nu-metal riff into utter heaviness, ornamented by a high-pitched vocal. Over the top? Yes, but it actually works.
However, there are plenty of times where it all seems a bit too much. Diffusion Of Responsibility includes pop punk-esque guitars with cringeworthy discordant notes (whch sadly aren’t a one-off) while keeping the grit evident too, while Affinity’s strange prog/saccharine vocals mix is a bit baffling. The main annoyance about Good Intent is the sheer number of effervescent changes most songs include. It’s also very raw, so there’s the classic problem of vocals being lost under heavy instrumentation, which is a shame as the vocals are undoubtedly a highlight of Press To MECO’s sound.
The good thing is that what Press To MECO lack in definitive decision making over their sound (which is normal – this is their first album, after all), they make up for it in spades with potential. There are so many different ideas here, from Ghost’s stompy intervals to drummer Lewis Williams’ truly unique patterns on Manipulate. And they’re all executed well, for the most part. The only problem is the mixed signals all of the creativity causes. They’ve already got a space themed band concept set in stone (their name is a NASA term and ground control calls open the album), just not an overall sound.
It’s obvious Press To MECO are still finding their feet in the music world. But to make a name for yourself in the first place, you have to be bold, which is definitely one of the first words that springs to mind when listening to Good Intent. A bit of filing down the rough edges should allow the trio to make a name for themselves. But they’ll definitely be making their own cookie cutter to do it.
For fans of: Lower Than Atlantis, Blitz Kids, Arcane Roots
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Good Intent’ by Press To MECO is out now on Best Before Records.