Published May 02, 2019Heavy Meta is a fascinating look at how writing an album for no one but yourself can go wrong. In theory, a deeply personal album that isn't concerned with outside optics is masterpiece material. But here, it's a self-indulgent, all-too-long experiment that seems to be made with no one and nothing in mind.
Make no mistake — I'm certain the writing of this record was, for Mounties, the jam session of a lifetime. Rejuvenating, even. With Steve Bays' Hot Hot Heat retiring not too long ago, he was no doubt itching to experiment and get weird. The experimentation is not the problem, but rather the findings it presents.
It's worth noting this was, to some extent, all according to plan. On the needlessly long opener, Bays triumphantly sings "Give them what they came for," likely a tongue-in-cheek heads-up for the defiance that makes up the rest of the record. It would be cuter if it lead to something more.
The thing is, it's not like Mounties are incapable of pulling on heartstrings. Their last album's "Tokyo Summer" is a masterclass in melancholy; "Kid Who Stays In the Picture" (the last big single by Hot Hot Heat) is a heartbreaking trip down memory lane. Beyond the always beautiful vocals, nothing on Heavy Meta is even close to those highs.
Heavy Meta is, at its best, another alt-rock album. Solid background music, but nothing that'll make it onto any playlists. It's the musical equivalent of listening to friends repeat inside jokes you weren't privy to and exchanging "remember whens" for moments you weren't around for. You want intimacy from these personal records, but this one refuses to share anything. (Light Organ)