It’s easy to cynical and crunch your features into a grizzled scowl as lament piles upon lament about the state of song writing within alternative music. For it is so simple and understandable to malign a lot of it as existing to bolster the ego of the creative artist rather than appealing to the part of us all that is forever 17 and always in love.
I say this only to prepare you for my thoughts about the much anticipated album from Croydon band Press To MECO. Good Intent is the explosive concentration Dillinger’s lighter moments, CHON and One Direction thrown together in an industrial press. An unctuous and deceptively complex concoction and perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but such is the muscular dynamism within their musicianship I believe they have the ability to win over even the most ardent anti-popster.
PTM are natural successors to bands like Midget, Symposium and Silversun, all of whom had great careers back in the 90’s before pop-punk became a dirty word and teenage hearts could still be won via Saturday morning television. However PTM are not especially punky in a traditional sense, indeed in the past I have described them as Tech-Pop and Pop-Core, neither of which adequately sums up their genius ability to mix riff heavy melody with lilting 3 part harmonies. But I make these comparisons merely because PTM are worthy of the success that these lesser acts were rapidly rewarded with.
There are times when this record sounds like The Smiths playing a Stone Roses covers set; a controlled technical explosion filtered through a knowing yet celebratory world-view. It is this duality and others similar to it that is at the core of their music. PTM possess a muscular arm that retains a lightness of touch; able to deliver a knock out blow, yet then gently cradle the freshly punched head, controlling the dramatic descent to the floor. Such is their consummate control of physical dexterity.
They have an almost unparalleled ability to be both mainstream and extreme in the same moment; as though they inhale razor-blades and exhale candy-floss. Choosing exactly the right chords and beats to satisfy even the most demanding musical palate. And the fact they are able to so broadly satisfy by crafting sing-a-long songs highlights the depth of real, veritable talent within the band. Not just the skill to write riffs or carve out shuddering breakdowns but the ability to break layers of plaque from hardened hearts allowing long forgotten cardiac impulses to course around the body. To reinvigorate dormant emotional circuits or activate uninitiated ones.
Yes, it is emotional music but it is utterly imprintable, allowing the individual to make their own mould from the song and set their own experiences and inside it. Yes, their song writing has a very pop focused feel, but there is an angularity to their riffs which infuses each song with a ludicrously joyful Meshuggah meets the Beach Boys vibe. Yes, I quite like this band, but if you listen to them, you will too.
My only minor disappointments about the record was the inclusion of several tracks from their most recent Affinity EP, but they are re-recordings with a slightly altered tempo and several other subtle changes, so perhaps my grumble here is a little unfounded. As someone with prior knowledge of their music I would have loved an LP consisting entirely of new content, but since this is a negligible gripe which will not apply to anyone coming freshly to this record, I am loath to let it to mitigate my appraisal. Especially since this record is so packed with kicking tunes, that if it were a soundtrack to a movie, that film would have to be called Bangers, Songs and Perfect Snogging.
– John Whitmore