Ever since the ending of the 90s, there has been an audience pinning for a return or throwback to that sound. Taking Meds has provided just that with their latest record Dial M For Meds.
Formed in New York in 2013, Taking Meds has been hitting the scene and having a hard time placing themselves into a certain scene. Describing themselves as, “The Poppy Band At The Hardcore Show, The Aggressive Band At The Pop Punk Show, The Shredder Band That Isn’t Metal–or most simply, and The Uncategorizable Band.” They would release their debut My Life As A Bro in 2016 following it up with two more LPs I Hate Me and Terrible News For Wonderful Men.
Terrible News For Wonderful Men marking a shift for the band, particularly according to vocalist and guitarist Skyler Sarkis. Stating that “It made me realize I wanted to try and invite more people to the band and hone in on what I think is our strong suit: having really accessible melodies over not very traditional chord progressions.” The band started picking up more steam as the band became the cool band to know, if you know.
On September 1, the band released their latest record Dial M For Meds under Smartpunk Records. Being produced by Kurt Ballou, who has worked with Code Orange and Joyce Manor, gives a good first inspection of what to expect from this record. An up front, direct look at aspects of life is what is provided from the group on this ten track groove of a record that allows every musician to shine throughout. Whilst listening to the record, I drew immediate comparisons to bands like Local H and The Ataris in the overall catchiness and sound of this record.
Starting with “Memory Lane” sets the standard and tone for the record as the listener is immediately introduced to the pounding drums, riffs and vocals that don’t take their time to ease the listener in. This could’ve been something that failed, but in the case of “Memory Lane,” it just lets the listener know what to expect. “I’m gonna capture the plane and crash it on memory lane” these lyrics bring in one of the first examples of Sarkis’ cynical yet funny looks at topics of life, in this case, it’s nostalgia. With nostalgia being such a large subject today, when it’s tackled in this track, they take a look at both perspectives of the subject. Another powerful subject that gets an analysis on this record is the topic of addiction, especially from the perspective of Sarkis.
“Memory Lane” is followed by the track “Outside,” which you can watch the video for below.
“Aftertaste” doesn’t hide from the Sarkis’ past and the honesty mixed with the upbeat instrumentals creates a dichotomy that really works. On the one hand, you get lyrics like “I can’t wait I’m gonna be the guy that I hate/I can’t wait to latch into place,” the next moment you’re singing the riff in your head over and over again.
The instrumentals on this record are some of the smoothest and most well thought out I have heard all year. They all blend together so smoothly with one another, allowing each other to have the spotlight when applicable. For example, the track “Long Tooth” has, in my opinion, the best guitar work on the record, starting immediately with an effect that makes the riff, that carries throughout the track, sound like its dueling between each guitarist culminating in a sick solo that comes in the later half of the track.
Drumming also gets great time to shine and the bass gets to groove out on the track “Wadding Out,” which is one of my favorites on this record. The drive that both bass and drums bring to the track makes it one of the more explosive tracks on the record that also leaves room for more of the casual audience to just dance to if they are having a first time listen.
Overall, Dial M For Meds, is an upfront, direct and in your face, having a good time on a record that takes a cynical, funny, and even deep look at many aspects of life. Brought together by catchy vocals and instrumentals with lyrics that most can relate to in some aspect. This is a record to jam during the beginning of the fall season, and even one to introduce to a friend who may not even listen to similar music. After playing Fest on October 27 in Gainesville, Florida, Taking Meds will be starting up a tour starting November 9 featuring bands like LURK, Squint, Money, and Public Opinion. For more information you can check out the band’s Bandcamp.