Taking a name inspired by explorer Meriwether Lewis’ (alleged) homosexual yearning for his partner William Clark (but not, alas, his quest to discover mastodons), Chin Up, Meriwether! delivers a solid set of politi-punk a la the Jammy Dodgers and any post-Latterman band featuring Matt Canino.
In keeping with all the other records Rumbletowne has put out over the years, Fruition deals an awful lot with local issues. Songs like “Fists are For Fucking” and “Wally’s Hardcore” deal with gay pride in a homophobic world, and that doesn’t happen often with punk bands (unless you’re queercore, in which case it’s the only thing you ever talk about). That Meriwether can touch on that issue and still write kickass punk tunes about other topics, like the anti-douche bag anthem “Water Under a Burned Bridge” or any of a number of tunes about friends lapsing into drug abuse, makes for a diverse selection. Then again, they named a song “Fags Rule!”, so it’s still a pretty part of the band’s identity.
Let’s be clear, Meriwether ain’t exactly big on hooks, and their lyrics can be overwhelmingly earnest at times. If you’re not down with the politics (and the clumsy cavalcade of words), Meriwether can be a buzzkill. And yes, while their ramshackle style is refreshing in an age that sees bands getting slicker and more inhuman, sometimes the songs are just a wee bit too loose.
But these weak points are also strengths. Meriwether works because of their frankness. Lines like “You can call me any name / Inflict any amount of pain / But you’ll never make me ashamed” (from “Fists are For Fucking”) are beautifully direct. Fruition can get repetitive and unsubtle at times, but that’s punk in general, gay or otherwise. This record takes hard stances and manages to kick out a few jams along the way.