Meridian - Aging Truths (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Aging Truths (2012)


Max Stern made a decently sized splash in our scene last year as the talented frontman of Signals Midwest, whose full-length Latitudes & Longitudes served as an impressive vehicle for his burgeoning songwriting talents. While Signals should have a follow-up out this year, he's returned for now under the Meridian moniker, showcasing some of his more straightforward, introspective songwriting in an awfully endearing end product.

The songs of Aging Truths are much more heavily carried by Stern's voice and an acoustic guitar than those of Signals, and he's able to portray sadness, introspection and longing with a cunning sense of relatability. "Six Blocks" explores loss in a way that's more triumphant than morose, though like the majority of these songs there's a palpable sense of melancholy throughout. Much of the rest of the album stays in that same wheelhouse, with Stern using his usually emphatic vocals and interspersing them with softer inflections where necessary, showcasing a previously unrevealed versatility.

Stern's brother Jake and friends fill out some of Aging Truths' better selections, with the full-band cuts navigating the sonic avenues between folky tendencies and a poppier, almost Smiths-esque disposition. "Love & A Sense of Belonging" stomps along nicely, with a banjo adding some personality to the lush instrumentation already present. "Prosthetic Hand" is the album's best song, with a fully realized pop sensibility not to mention close to home lyrics reflecting the importance of human interaction in an increasingly digital age.

At age 23, Max Stern already has a slew of impressively written, versatile songs in his back pocket and Aging Truths confirms what few know and many more will find out: this kid is destined to do big things in our scene.