Meeting of Important People’s 2009 self-titled debut release was a sketchbook of small details and stolen moments, stitched together as lyrically impressionistic vignettes and set against too many perfectly cultivated harmonies to count. The high points (“Mother’s Pay More” and “I Know Every Street”) offered glimpses of a dreamworld populated by desperate youth and blood thirsty babes, detailing the lost nights and lost loves that never existed.
While that wistful album resembled something like a book of poetry, the group’s current effort, the seven song Quit Music EP available for download here, comes closer to a collection of short stories with each song possessing slivers of plot, drama and the fragile soul of small town life. Lead singer/songwriter Josh Verbanets provides his characters with rousing backgrounds of British Invasion pop, bristling with moments of AM radio melody and world beating power chords. Slowly, I could not shake the comparison to The Kinks and their small town/countryside opus The Village Green Preservation Society. Tracks after the jump.
Pieces of the story and town are small, but poignant: a father reconciling his skepticism and informing his sons to show hospitality to drifters looking for lodging (“Training Song”), a man convinced he should shed all of his possessions and embrace Jesus as the messiah (“Jesus Song”), the boastings of status and reputation in a city that seems like a distant and unobtainable dream (“They Love Me in the City”), a man’s fantasy of a perfect wife that, he claims, can focus his rudderless existence (“Country Wife”). Even the cover selected (Every Mother’s Son – “Come on Down to My Boat”) tells the tale of a boy determined to impress the fisherman’s daughter by bringing her down to his boat.
The characters in these stories are grasping at fleeting notions of being a better person or doing bigger things, ideas that hit pretty close to home in Pittsburgh (the most small-town-like big city of them all). They may be running in place or only close to attaining the illusion of happiness, but their desire still has mass and weight. Of course, Meeting of Important People wouldn’t be Meeting of Important People unless they underlined all that existential dilemma with jaunty compositions of vintage power pop bliss, littering these tracks with hooks and harmonies that would put most local acts to shame and slowly turning the sad irony of these meek characters into sincere hopefulness.
Meeting of Important People went back to their roots and assessed their influences with the Quit Music EP, resulting in their most fully realized and focused work to date. It will be exciting to see the guys try these songs out in a live setting and with two upcoming EP release shows (7/24 21+ @ Thunderbird Cafe, 7/30 all ages @ The Warhol) we will all have chance soon enough.