Sloppy Meateaters - Conditioned by the Laugh Track (Cover Artwork)

Sloppy Meateaters

Conditioned by the Laugh Track (2005)

Orange Peal

Some bands have an effect on you without you even realizing until years later. At this point I think it's safe to say that the Sloppy Meateaters may be one of those bands for me. A benefit show they played in my two-stoplight hometown when I was 13 solidified an interest in punk in my pubescent brain. So here's my tribute to them.

Conditioned by the Laugh Track is a fantastic album that I just can't say enough good things about. It's leaps and bounds better than the band's previous works, including two full-lengths consisting of often juvenile pop-punk with a few hidden gems that, in hindsight, seem to hint at some hidden potential. Had you heard the band's previous works and dismissed them I couldn't really hold that against you, but their third effort is one of those great albums that, for one reason or another, just go overlooked.

Musically, the band takes on less of a pop-punk sound than any previous recordings in favour of a more diverse and admittedly more interesting new approach. This album takes on a punk-tinged rock sound and I think I can hear a ska(ish) riff tucked in there on at least one occasion. Lyrically, Josh doesn't shy away from grand social, political, personal or even philosophical themes, a welcome change as previously he sang about the habits of fat girls who patronize the gas station where he worked. One of my favourites is "So It Goes", which is all about Billy Pilgrim and his time-travelling hi-jinx, and I'm also a fan of "The Ballad of Boo Radley". There is a wide range of songs with varying levels of punk influence, from the up-tempo "Daywalker" to the slow and downbeat "Serotonin". This diversity serves to keep songs from blending together.

I hope the emotional attachment me and many of my old friends share for the Sloppy Meateaters hasn't skewed the way I hear things, but at the risk of sounding biased I love this album and would highly recommend it.