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MEET ME @ THE ALTAR give pop punk a Gen Z makeover on Past // Present // Future

"Past // Present // Future"

Release date: 10 March 2023
Meet Me @ The Altar - Past // Present // Future cover
08 March 2023, 08:00 Written by Caitlin Chatterton

For a long time, pop punk was a genre saturated by quartets of white men pining over unattainable women.

Its recent resurgence has, thankfully, brought greater diversity: the likes of Nova Twins, Hot Milk, and Meet Me @ The Altar. With them, the unattainable women have been swapped out for discussions of political activism, mental health, and online harassment. The latter inspired “Say It (To My Face)”, the raucous first single that kicks off the album with the eye-rolling lament, “I'm a bitch and my band is an industry plant / 'least that's what it says on the internet.”

The rest of the album delivers snarling guitars and thundering drums lifted straight from the pop-punk handbook. “Try” and “It’s Over For Me” are the obvious standouts, dragging you to the dancefloor with the same kind of earworm melodies that made their EP so memorable. “Thx 4 Nothin’” is another highlight, its grooving riff soundtracking a contemptuous goodbye to an ex.

Across the album, MM@TA’s determinedly upbeat sound makes for easy listening that can err on predictability – which is why “A Few Tomorrows”’s melancholic tone offers a welcome change of pace. It’s not the only downcast lyric, though. “TMI” wrestles with the all too familiar fear of letting someone in and being too much for them; vocalist Edith Victoria frets that “if you knew me better you’d like me worse”. Her treatment of mental health here is relatable and unwavering without feeling cheesy – something that “Rocket Science” does less successfully. The boppy ode to perseverance insists that “nothing’s impossible if you decide // you realise // your dream’s not so far away”, which just feels saccharine to the point of insincerity.

Past // Present // Future rounds off with “King Of Everything”, an anthemic finale that absorbs all the energy permeating this record. On their debut, MM@TA have cemented themselves as champions of olden days pop punk, repackaged and remodelled for the new generation.

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