Meet Me @ The Altar – ‘Model Citizen’

By Gem Rogers

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about a pop punk resurgence, fuelled in no small part by a handful of big name artists dabbling their toes into power chord infested waters. Whether these newcomers will stick around remains to be seen, but fortunately for fans of the genre, this resurgence is also being driven by a host of new bands who have pop punk practically running through their veins – and effervescent trio Meet Me @ The Altar are leading the charge.

After exploding in popularity in 2020 with single ‘Garden’ and signing to renowned label Fueled By Ramen, calling MMATA ‘the next big thing’ seems like somewhat of an understatement, and they’re only too happy to prove that with debut label EP ‘Model Citizen’. If impossibly infectious, technically accomplished, and (most importantly) joy-infused pop punk is what you’ve been hunting for, it’s time to call off the search – it’s right here, and you’re going to adore it.

Getting started with the retro vibes of ‘Feel A Thing’, MMATA instantly transport us back to a time when pop punk felt like it ruled the world, the kind of song that fuels an excitement deep down in your stomach; their easycore leanings give the track an extra kick, filling every moment with new sounds and hooks that continue into the deliciously chuggy ‘Mapped Out’.

In among the plentiful riffs designed to wear out your finest dancing shoes, there’s an irrefutable current of positivity, optimism, and love, carried by the blissfully melodic vocals of Edith Johnson. There’s a sense that Johnson could sing just about anything you throw at her and make it sound like magic, so when unleashed on songs of this quality, the end result is magnificent – no matter what kind of week you’re having, it’ll undoubtedly be better after listening to the likes of the boldly reassuring ‘Brighter Days (Are Before Us)’, the electric ‘Now Or Never’, or furiously riffy closer ‘Wake Up’.

Even the biggest fans of pop punk couldn’t deny that, in trying to stick to the tried-and-tested formulas of the genre, many bands fall into the trap of becoming tired, identikit clones with nothing new to say, but that couldn’t be further from the truth here. MMATA have provided a sound that is wonderfully familiar without tripping into a generic rut, with a fresh take that not only entices new fans but also reminds older listeners why they fell in love with pop punk in the first place. Though the pace remains much the same through the EP, there’s no evidence that the trio would struggle to deliver more on a full length release – and it surely won’t be too long before they provide us with the proof.

With so much hype surrounding Meet Me @ The Altar, the pressure could well have proved too intense for such a young band – instead, they have simply used it to help craft this glittering diamond of an EP. As a debut major label outing, ‘Model Citizen’ is blisteringly confident, and it deserves to be so; pop punk just got the bright new beginning it has long needed, and with bands like MMATA at the helm, the future is looking very exciting indeed.

GEM ROGERS

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