Meretto - Street Talking
Mixing political and social idealism with rock and roll while trying to keep your street cred is never easy - just ask Bono. Try too hard and you sound preachy, miss the mark and you’re posing. There are the masters of course: Springsteen, The Clash, Radiohead who can mix the two; music that both makes you think and rocks your world. But for most bands it’s a tricky thing to pull off. If you write 'serious' lyrics then people will want to listen to them. And maybe more closely than you’d like them to.
Sonically, Street Talking is pretty good, an interesting blend of grandiose classic rock guitar licks and edgy punk rhythms. Take ‘Introduction’, a snappy insight into a generation’s disillusionment: “Don’t you know the streets ‘round here are paved with gold? Just beneath the greatest story ever told.” Stu Bell’s excellent guitar playing keeps the song moving while taking some of the heat away from the the song's naiveté. The White Lies-esque ‘Devotion’ continues in a similar vein. The music pulsates along while the lyrics about 9 to 5 drudgery strive to find a place within. And ‘Caesium Baby’s’ catchy melody almost makes you forget the dodgy lyrics: ‘Police are called to a public disturbance / 'Are you alright, Sir?' / Another occurrence.’
Unfortunately this is often where the album falls flat. Though the sincerity is there the clumsy lyrics often let the songs down. The spitfire spark of ‘Kiss’ and ‘A Method Of Urban Survival’ have a great 80’s feel to them and are definitely the highlights of the album, while ‘Communication' 's dreamy music seems unable to cope with Bell’s loquaciousness. ‘Bust’ fails miserably on both counts, the plodding music only exacerbating the truly awful lyrics; “Lads getting violent / Police another siren / Chavs sporting white shoes / Girls that are quite loose.”
The final song ‘Back To Me’, with its simple piano intro and Bell’s heartfelt vocals, demonstrates what the band can sound like when they aren’t trying too hard to be deep: “To follow a greater dream somebody has to pay / Keep those hopes alive / I can show the way.”
First rate musicianship coupled with the clever musical dynamics make this an album of hope rather than promise. If they can hone their songwriting skills then Meretto could be a band worth keeping your eye on.