"The New Kids Make Varsity with Cluster Cascade EP" (Lamplighter Magazine)

Lamplighter Magazine (New Jersey Arts & Culture Magazine); Published Monday, October 24th, 2011

Lamplighter Magazine (New Jersey Arts & Culture Magazine); Published Monday, October 24th, 2011

Meet/Pause is a band that has just celebrated its first birthday as a band since its inception in the Summer of 2010. In hypothetical grade-school terms, they are still the new kids on the playground getting beat up for lunch money. However, these new kids have already scored some pretty high marks. With a mass of critical and fan praise, making feet move at Brick City Sound Riot last September,  induction into the Tiny Giant Artist Collective (the scene’s answer to the high school football team), and an excellent EP release with their “Cluster Cascade” EP, these guys are proving that rookies know how to shred just as well as varsity.

“Cluster Cascade” is the first official release from Meet/Pause, and it’s kind of like the first glass of cold milk from a fresh gallon. For those unfamiliar with them, Meet/Pause is a four-piece band based in the New Brunswick, NJ music scene with quite a wide variety of influences that they blend together to form their awesome sound. Streaks of the Smashing Pumpkins, Minus the Bear, Death Cab for Cutie, and many other bands can be found on this five-track release.

The introductory track, “Cell Blocks & River Docks,” is the longest song of the entire album by a good two minutes. However, every second is worth it because of an impressive lead guitar solo dropped by lead singer and guitarist Scott Thompson, a nice build-up of energy throughout the entire song, and solid drum work by drummer Graeme. Title track “Cluster Cascade” displays The Death Cab for Cutie influence: a drum and synth start off the song, which is later accompanied by  soft vocals and storyteller lyrics. “As we’re dancing in the kitchen like toy soldiers arm in arm” is one of the many lines that create intense imagery similar to Ben Gibbard’s Death Cab writing. ”Coworkers,” my personal favorite track off of the album, reminds me of the kind of song you hear drunk business men belt out during Friday night karaoke. Powerful chords, solid skins banging, an awesome keys solo, and tight vocals, both lead and back-up, are all present in this Meet/Pause masterpiece.

Cluster Cascade EP
Cover for Meet/Pause's "Cluster Cascade" EP
The whole album is pretty much sonic gold. The bass is being slapped, the drums are pounding, the guitar is shredding, the keys are indeed being pressed in a rocking manner, the falsetto vocal harmonies must have been recorded in heaven, and Scott belts over the tracks like a rock pro. All in all, the album will grant over 20 minutes of entertainment multiplied by the number of times you put it on repeat…so basically, whatever 20 minutes multiplied by infinity replays is.

If you want to see these guys in a live show and get the opportunity to see Sean Favre’s beard in real life, then you better make sure you cancel all your plans for Halloween, because that’s the only time Meet/Pause will be playing in the foreseeable future. The Ghost of Uncle Joe’s : Halloween Benefit, appropriately held on Halloween night, is an all-night New Jersey rock festival taking place in The Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery (435 Newark Ave Jersey City, NJ). Meet/Pause will be rocking out with fellow Tiny Giants Holy City Zoo and They Had Faces Then, along with a lot of other awesome bands like The Black Hollies and Aminal. All details can be found in the Facebook event page link.

The only complaint I have against this EP is the standard critique that people have against every awesome EP: it’s just not long enough! It makes you wish that studio time wasn’t so expensive, a feeling that surely resonates with the band as well. Regardless, this EP will be spinning for the next few weeks and you should totally spin it, too! Best of all, the album is pay-what-you-want (that means FREE with the option of donations). You can download it on their Band Camp, and while you’re at it, ‘Like’ them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter (@meetpause), and stalk them in real life, too (I’m sure they would appreciate it).

Meet/Pause may be the new kids in the cafeteria eating by themselves, but expect them to become the Homecoming kings and snag the Prom queen by next semester. (Link)