Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, METZ‘s fourth album Atlas Vending sees the JOVM mainstays attempting to craft music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant, as they — and of course, the listener — navigated through life’s trails and tribulations. The end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world, but while arguably being among their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their catalog and careers to date.Thematically, Atlas Vending covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Atlas Vending offers a snapshot of the modern condition as the band sees it; however, Atlas Vending‘s 10 songs were specifically written to form a musical and narrative arc with the album’s songs and sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.
Interestingly, as a result of the album’s cradle-to-grave narrative arc, the album’s material runs through a gamut of moods and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood, all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. Getting older — particularly getting older in an industry that constantly suspends itself in perpetual youth manages to be both text and subtext to the material. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”
Over the course of last year, I wrote about six off the album’s released singles:
- Album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
- “Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become.
- “Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
- “Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.
- “Pulse,” a furious roar, full of the anxious and uncertain dread that was familiar to daily life during the Trump Administration.
- “Framed by the Comet’s Tail,” Atlas Vending‘s most punk-like song, centered around the bitter recrimination and heartache of betrayal and the desperate desire to just say “Fuck all of this!” and start over.
“Sugar Pill,” Atlas Vending‘s seventh and latest single is a furious, mosh pit friendly ripper, fueled by a bitter and uneasy dissatisfaction: it’s one-part desperate howl of the aging, who suddenly realize that they’ve been sold empty bullshit that has made their lives equally empty. “And now what?” the song seems to ask.
Directed by Shayne Ehman, the recently released video follows two diehard skaters — Jojo Johnson and Sara Smith — heading out to skateboard, even in the middle of a brutally cold, Canadian winter. Talk about dedication, right? “Skateboarding feels great. We love to skate. The birds need to sing, we need to skate,” Ehman says of the video. “I hope the winter skateboarding footage carries with it some of the love we have for skateboarding. I hope it contains a spirit of perseverance and the will to make it happen. Come wind, ice, or stormy weather, we shovel snow, we torch frost, we skate.”