Sloppy Meateaters: Forbidden Meat

Sloppy Meateaters
Forbidden Meat
Orange Peal

Well here we are again with another pop-punk band that is poised with axes in hand and a sizable fan base to back them up. Yet another FarmClub favorite, Sloppy Meateaters have already been able to play some of the major tours like the Vans Warped Tour and the Slim Jim Rebelli-ache tour as well. They’ve appeared on the FarmClub show itself with the other acts like MxPx and 3 Doors Down, and even got to lend a track to the Sony PlayStation game Razor Freestyle Scooter. It seems that fate has been kind to this band.

Indeed, they play with great panache and have a solid sound that fuses catchy chord progressions and riffs to a heavy bass and drum section. But all in all, there feels like there could be a lot more coming from the Meateaters. If you’re at all familiar with the punk and/or pop-punk scene, then you’re probably aware of the great number of bands currently out there who are doing their own “legit” takes on Blink 182. Sloppy Meateaters sound no different from a lot of those bands. You get what you’d probably expect here — fast beats, frenzied guitars, and a lead singer (Josh Chambers) who sings about playing legitimate rock, the doldrums of daily life, and girls.

In fact, I find it a bit ironic that Chambers sings “I sit on my stool looking hip and cool / The radio’s blasting Blink 182 / I wish I could be on TRL / I wish I didn’t have to front the shelves” on “Fat Chicks”. Is this a sincere wish, or the Meateaters’ putting down the great empire of MTV? If it’s the former, then fine, but if not, then why? The band’s sound is close to those other over-played “punk” groups on MTV that such a superior stance comes off as laughable. I’m sorry to say, but the Meateaters’ sound isn’t anything new or that radically different to make anyone take great notice. Sure, the girls would probably get all riled up over the guys’ clean yet ragged looks, and the dudes would no doubt bob their heads and jump up and down to the beats, but again you get what you’d expect with this group.

And the band does indeed have some fine sounding tunes. “Suddenly Forget” sounds something cool you’d hear on the latest episode of Tony Hawk’s Gigantic Skate Park Tour on ESPN 2, while “Play The Game” and “Impossible” are as good as any other pop punksters out there. But the big problem the group faces is Chambers’ singing. He has a whiny voice and tries all too often to hit notes on the higher end of the scale that he just can’t reach. His voice breaks and goes out of key way too many times, and every time it does, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I realize that in the punk game the warts and all approach is the main rule, but when you have music as good and accessible as the Meateaters’, it shouldn’t be fucked up by such poor vocals. When Chambers keeps it in his range, he does fine, but all too often he decides to go the one step higher and mess everything up.

I would say that perhaps when Chambers gets a bit older, his voice will settle in more but since the guy’s already 22, I don’t know if that will be happening. If he’d just keep the singing in his own range, the Meateaters could be the great rockin’ band that all the press would seem to signify that they are. Until then, they’ll remain like the countless other sound-alike groups out there who are also at times better than these guys. Still, you could do worse than Forbidden Meat. It’s just kind of a shame that you could also ultimately do much better.