Meridian is most certainly a deviation from the pace that vocalist, Max Stern, is used to after playing in Signals Midwest for the last six years. While punk is how Stern began his career, it seems that he is just as comfortable playing in a much tamer and more folksy alt-rock band. Stern’s voice still has the grit that Signals Midwest fans have come to love, which makes for an interesting dynamic when combined with the folksy music of Meridian.
The Cathedral builds upon the sound that Meridian established in their first record, Aging Truths, by stepping away from acoustic-based melodies and favoring the use of multiple instruments throughout each track. Songs like the title track show off the band’s more folksy side, while “Eyes Like Likes (Room Within a Room)” picks up the pace and showcases the band’s punk roots. Each song on the album takes on a life of its own sonically, and as the record progresses, the band never really revisits the same sound.
The Cathedral is a solid release from a band still trying to figure out their sound. However, it is clear that Meridian does not quite know what they want to sound like yet, which is not necessarily a bad thing. This record shows the band’s willingness to experiment sonically, while still maintaining the honest lyrics that endeared many to them from the start. Meridian did not do anything all that spectacular on The Cathedral, but their decision to add a full band to the mix was definitely a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see this band grow over time, and hopefully grow into their sound a bit more.