Album #272: METZ – Atlas Vending

  • Released: 2020
  • Origin: Ottawa, Canada
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Best Track: A Boat to Drown In

When I saw METZ in Liverpool around this time in 2019, I had no idea it would be a year – and probably a fair bit longer – until I saw a live band again. Still, it wasn’t a bad gig to go out on, and their fourth album is one I’ve been especially looking forward to this year.

Metz’s first two albums – the self titled 2012 release and its follow-up II in 2015 – are noise rock classics. Strange Piece came in 2017 and I’m not quite as keen on it, but I sensed it heralded something of a change of direction, and this is realised on Atlas Vending.

The three tracks released prior to the album suggested a lot more going on in the songs, particularly ‘Hail Taxi’. ‘Blind Youth Industrial Park’ (the title of which I love, for some reason) is sonic, all-out attack, while ‘A Boat to Drown In’ has this driving rhythm and huge, ominous outro, making it probably the longest song they’ve done. I liked them as singles, but in the context of the album, they’re even better, especially the latter as a closer.

It’s a different sound, but it’s still a damn noisy and frenetic one. It’s interesting that Liam Gallagher has said he’s a fan of the band, because Alex Edkins’ voice seems to have gone more like his. It’s becoming increasingly nasal and throaty, and I mean that in a good way! This is noticeable on ‘Blind Youth Industrial Park’ and the superb ‘Sugar Pill’, while ‘Framed by the Comet’s Tail’ may be the most adventurous track I’ve heard from the band.

METZ may have resorted to a slower pace, but have lost none of their intensity. Atlas Vending confirms their position as one of the most exciting and exhilarating bands around.

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